Thursday, February 28, 2008

nobu lunch


nobu lunch, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Healthy living

The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Britons or Americans.

The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than Britons or Americans.

The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Britons or Americans.

The Italians drink a great deal of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than Britons or Americans.

The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat sausage and other fatty foods and suffer fewer heart attacks than Britons and Americans.

THE MEDICAL CONCLUSION IS:

Eat and drink whatever you want. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Hopeless

In this not so humble Englishman's opinion, if the USA democratic process drastically reduced all this ridiculous (and hugely costly) campaigning they might end up with a leader that would lead them forward.. the democratic system is so short termism it is just plain scary.. there is no reward for long term thinking or planning.. Clinton was quoted as saying she thought that interest rates should be frozen to solve the housing crisis.. that is plainly to garner votes from desperate people of which she is one.. and shows an incredible lack of economic understanding.. I am sure she is misquoted somehow and meant freeze the rates on subprime and teaser loans etc, but it is still reeks of panic on her part.. it appears she simply says what has to be said to win a vote.. she proclaimed to be about fact and action.. now because of a flawed system, she is chasing 'empty words' with 'empty words' a la Obama.. the fact is that in order to lead the USA, you need to say whatever the (uneducated?) masses want to hear, in order to get voted.. it is personality politics at its basest.. no cares for manifestos or policies.. whoever wins then pays back all the favours used.. has about a minute to look at the state of the nation (as long as there are no conflicts etc. economic or otherwise elsewhere on the planet) before rushing headlong into another round of bizarrely costly campaigning proclaiming your truly heartfelt desire to make positive changes and therefore try to save a dying empire.. from where I sit it is no better than the worst reality TV.. not that the UK is any better.. but at least we do not drag the whole thing on for a year or more..

Surprised I lasted this long without a rant, but then again I have been avoiding the US media like the plague this time around.. except this.. this is good..



Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tokyo

Star Wars

When you are three.. "it's an exciting movie"

Oops..



"The braking mechanism that limits the speed of the wind turbine broke during a storm in Denmark. This was the outcome." Article about the turbine failure

The Oscars.. in 60 seconds

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

too much wind & snow equals queues


too much wind & snow equals queues, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

light brick stand


light brick stand, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Niseko northern hotel, hokkaido

stormy


stormy, originally uploaded by Knotty.

feel the force luke


feel the force luke, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Friday, February 22, 2008

basil brush


basil brush, originally uploaded by Knotty.

white eye


white eye, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

neigh again


neigh again, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Merino Wool

I am endeavouring to move from polyester based sports clothes to merino wool ones. The reasons are nicely summarised here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What's blue and fluffy?

A: Blue fluff.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This week's Threadless fave..

Polar Gardening - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Socialism can be reached only by bicycle

"Man, unaided by any tool, gets around quite efficiently. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer in ten minutes by expending 0.75 calories. Man on his feet is thermodynamically more efficient than any motorized vehicle and most animals. For his weight, he performs more work in locomotion than rats or oxen, less than horses or sturgeon. At this rate of efficiency man settled the world and made its history.

Man on a bicycle can go three or four times faster than the pedestrian, but uses five times less energy in the process. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer of flat road at an expense of only 0.15 calories. The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man's metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well.

The bicycle also uses little space. Eighteen bikes can be parked in the place of one car, thirty of them can move along in the space devoured by a single automobile. It takes three lanes of a given size to move 40,000 people across a bridge in one hour by using automated trains, four to move them on buses, twelve to move them in their cars, and only two lanes for them to pedal across on bicycles."

ivan illich

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Economics of Sleep

"If you get up late in the morning on weekends, you must think sleep is very valuable. And if sleep is very valuable, that means we should go to bed early. Because if you go to bed early, you always have the option of sleeping later -- that is sleeping more -- and getting even more sleep than if you had gone to bed late. (You can't just shift your sleep into any hours block you want, given the coordination issues.) And if sleep is very valuable, the option to sleep more must be valuable as well. Therefore it's time to go to bed. Now. Early."

marginalrevolution

This is kind of how I think about it.. but then again I value the time at weekends more and especially time on a weekend morning most..

How SubPrime Really Works

Wonderful, apt, all-you need-to-know powerpoint presentation via the bigpicture

This is just the USA?

"Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason, “I expect to get bashed,” she said.

"Citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters."

She got the idea for this book back in 2001, on 9/11.

Walking home to her Upper East Side apartment, overwhelmed and confused, she stopped at a bar. As she sipped her bloody mary, she quietly listened to two men, neatly dressed in suits. For a second she thought they were going to compare that day’s horrifying attack to the Japanese bombing in 1941 that blew America into World War II:

“This is just like Pearl Harbor,” one of the men said.

The other asked, “What is Pearl Harbor?”

“That was when the Vietnamese dropped bombs in a harbor, and it started the Vietnam War,” the first man replied.

At that moment, Ms. Jacoby said, “I decided to write this book.”"


nytimes

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kung-Fu Panda

"When you focus on kung-fu you suck." Awesome. Must. See. It.

Combini-balls

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dooced

"Mr. Pazienza (a senior producer for CNN) announced that he had been fired through — what else — a blog post on Wednesday. “What was the reason for my abrupt and untimely dismissal?” he wrote. “You’re reading it. More to come soon.”

Deus Ex Malcontent makes no effort to hide its author’s strong views. “I wake up every morning baffled as to why America hasn’t thrown George Bush and Dick Cheney in prison, Hollywood hasn’t stopped trying to convince me that Sarah Jessica Parker is attractive, gullible soccer moms haven’t realized that they share absolutely no kinship with Oprah, and Fox canceled ‘Firefly,’” Mr. Pazienza wrote on the biographical section of his blog."

nytimes

Thursday, February 14, 2008

double-zoom


double-zoom, originally uploaded by Knotty.

police via the nosebleeds


police via the nosebleeds, originally uploaded by Knotty.

“It's All Downhill From Here, Folks”

"On January 14, 2008 the FDIC web site began posting the rules for reimbursing depositors in the event of a bank failure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is required to “determine the total insured amount for each depositor....as of the day of the failure” and return their money as quickly as possible.

The implication is clear, the FDIC has begun the “death watch” on the many banks.

The problem for the FDIC is that it has never supervised a bank failure which exceeded 175,000 accounts. So the impending financial tsunami is likely to be a crash-course in crisis management. Today some of the larger banks have more than 50 million depositors, which will make the FDIC's job nearly impossible.

Good luck.

America's place in the world has been guaranteed not by what it produces but by what it consumes. The American consumer has been the; locomotive that drives the global economy. Now that engine has been derailed by the reckless monetary policies of the Fed and by shortsighted financial innovation. When equity bubbles collapse; everybody pays. Demand for goods and services diminishes, unemployment soars, banks fold, and the economy stalls. That's when governments have to step in and provide programs and resources that keep people working and sustain business activity. Otherwise there will be anarchy. Middle class people are ill-suited for life under a freeway overpass. They need a helping hand from government. Big government. Good-bye, Reagan. Hello, F.D.R.

The Bush stimulus plan is a drop in the bucket. It'll take much, much more. And, we're not holding our breath for a New Deal from George Walker Bush. "

full put on your diaper article click here.. extreme but sobering stuff.. note "news you won't find on cnn" in the header.. remember there might be a reason for that.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

They don't need to weld to get it

"Science fiction author Neal Stephenson once told me something memorable. When he was a kid, his dad was constantly tinkering on some garage project or another, and despite Neal's complete indifference for any of his dad's enthusiasms at the time, he was influenced by this embedded tinkering. It was part of the family scene, part of his household, like mealtime style, or the pattern of interactions between siblings. Later on when Neal did attempt to make stuff on his own, the pattern was right at hand. It felt comfortable, easy. So he continued the tradition in the faith that while his kids showed
no outward enthusiasm for his weekend projects, and didn't pick up a
tool to help, they were being trained and coached in a subterranean way."

subterranean tutoring

I think I had some subterranean tutoring in my youth..

Up High


Up High, originally uploaded by /\ltus.

Non-HDR shot taken of Chizuko and James on the opposite ridge from the resort in the Annupuri backcountry

Photo by Altus, excellent shooting as always

More facebook.. but can we have less.

How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free

By Maria Aspan at the New York Times

Are you a member of Facebook.com? You may have a lifetime contract.

Some users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network's use of personal data.

While the Web site offers users the option to deactivate their accounts, Facebook servers keep copies of the information in those accounts indefinitely. Indeed, many users who have contacted Facebook to request that their accounts be deleted have not succeeded in erasing their records from the network.

Disenchanted users cannot disappear from the site without leaving footprints. Facebook's terms of use state that "you may remove your user content from the site at any time," but also that "you acknowledge that the company may retain archived copies of your user content."

Other social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster, as well as online dating sites like eHarmony.com, may require departing users to confirm their wishes several times — but in the end they offer a delete option.

The network is still trying to find a way to monetize its popularity, mostly by allowing marketers access to its wealth of demographic and behavioral information. The retention of old accounts on Facebook's servers seems like another effort to hold onto — and provide its ad partners with — as much demographic information as possible.

"I kept getting the same answer and really felt that I was being given the runaround," Mr. Burlison said of Facebook's customer service representatives. "It was quite obvious that no amount of prodding from me on a personal level was going to make a difference."

Only after he sent a link to the video of his interview with Britain's Channel 4 News to the customer service representatives — and Facebook executives — was his account finally deleted.

Steven Mansour, 28, a Canadian online community developer, spent two weeks in July trying to fully delete his account from Facebook. He later wrote a blog entry — including e-mail messages, diagrams and many exclamations of frustration — in a post entitled "2504 Steps to closing your Facebook account" (www.stevenmansour.com).

Mr. Mansour, who said he is "really skeptical of social networking sites," decided to leave after a few months on Facebook. "I was getting tired of always getting alerts and e-mails," he said. "I found it very invasive."

And his post became the touchstone for Mr. Wallin, who was inspired to create his group, "How to permanently delete your Facebook account," after joining, leaving and then rejoining Facebook, only to find that all of his information from his first account was still available.

"I don't want to leave yet; I actually find it really convenient," he said. "But someday when I want to leave, I want it to be simple."


The comments make interesting reading..

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fear of Long Words

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Monday, February 11, 2008

by the (electric) fire


by the (electric) fire, originally uploaded by Knotty.

After a long walk by the river..

Sapporo Snow Fest video..

59th Sapporo Snow Festival


59th Sapporo Snow Festival, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Snow & Ice

The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan's largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year.
Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see the hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park,the grounds at Satoland, and the main street in Susukino.
For seven days in February,these statues and sculptures(both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.
The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. in 1955, the Self-Defense Force joined in and built the very first massive snow sculpture, for which the Snow Festival has become famous for now. The Festival has grown from these humble beginnings to become one of the biggest and most well known of Hokkaido's winter events.

The Sapporo Snow Festival, one of Japan's largest winter events, attracts a growing number of visitors from Japan and abroad every year.
Every winter, about two million people come to Sapporo to see the hundreds of beautiful snow statues and ice sculptures which line Odori Park,the grounds at Satoland, and the main street in Susukino.
For seven days in February,these statues and sculptures(both large and small) turn Sapporo into a winter dreamland of crystal-like ice and white snow.
The Snow Festival began in 1950, when local high school students built six snow statues in Odori Park. in 1955, the Self-Defense Force joined in and built the very first massive snow sculpture, for which the Snow Festival has become famous for now. The Festival has grown from these humble beginnings to become one of the biggest and most well known of Hokkaido's winter events.

Click the photo for full slideshow..

Sunday, February 10, 2008

inyuma castle snow sculpture


inyuma castle snow sculpture, originally uploaded by Knotty.

2200 tons of snow

sno-plow


sno-plow, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Friday, February 08, 2008

neigh


neigh, originally uploaded by Knotty.

lunchtime


lunchtime, originally uploaded by Knotty.

out the window


out the window, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Normally at this time of a friday morning the view out of my office window is ever so
slightly different.

morning niseko


morning niseko, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Found by the wife, extraordinarily apt methinks.

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

Mad Money TV

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Pepper and Dylan Scrapping..

and then discovering a little snow at the end..

Fleece Blanket with Paws


Pepper the Fleece Blanket, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Pepper feeling the winter cold..

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fake Steve's pearls...

She's crying again.. "Hillary is tearing up again, this time at Yale. Friends, if tomorrow is your day to vote, please get out there and do it. Obama is our only hope. The fate of our nation hangs in the balance."

Monkey Boy's three-legged race.. "The Borg-Yahoo merger won't work. Here's why. It's like taking the two guys who finished second and third in a 100-yard dash and tying their legs together and asking for a rematch, believing that now they'll run faster. Ballmer said he loved when his rivals merged, because whenever the also-rans in any market start teaming up they might as well be waving a white flag. Because it's over. You've beaten them. You've driven them to despair. They haven't been able to beat you on their own; there's no way they'll do it together. Then he told me that line about the hundred-yard dash. I'll never forget it. But I guess he has."

Facebook is over.. "Numbers don't lie and the numbers show interest waning in these time-suck Web sites. The only way to make money on Facebook is to sell ads to other Facebook application developers, and what this amounts to is a repeat of the late-90s bubble: Ted Dziuba of the recently-departed, much-missed blog Uncov put it best: "This is a pyramid scheme. There is no money input into this system except venture capital. Expect spinners and happy-clappy bloggers to leap to social networking's defence by claiming the falls are sign of the market maturing, and of fierce competition. They could be right, but it still means that the individual business are not the goldmine their greedy backers slavered over."

and.. Threadless need to reprint this one..

The Last Piece - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Cool TShirt at Threadless..

Runnin' Rhino - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Sunday, February 03, 2008

more snow in tokyo


more snow in tokyo, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Polish DIY tractors

In the '60s Poland it was almost impossible to acquire a tractor in Poland. Agricultural machines produced by the country were available mainly for state-owned enterprises. For private farmers these tractors were too expensive and they weren't even robust or efficient enough for the mountain region. Out of necessity they constructed their own machines using spare parts and bits and pieces from whatever machines they could find. Including decommissioned army vehicles and pre-WWI German machines.

More at boingboing

Friday, February 01, 2008

London Underground is Thrilling

Pushing a piece of string

"Grain by grain, Miami Beach is losing the fine, bone-white sand that helps draw tourists.

The goal is to make the 10 miles (16 kilometers) of beach at least 200 feet wide. To maintain that size for 25 years, the county would need 12 million cubic yards (9 million cubic meters) of sand, or about 600,000 dump truck loads.

Keeping sand on the beach is a Sisyphean task. Miami's location at the tip of a peninsula and year-round temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) make it prone to tropical storms that can quickly wipe out progress."

via bloomberg

Man vs Nature, when have we ever won that battle?

Word

The only word in the English language with three consecutive double letters is bookkeeper.