Monday, June 30, 2008

Emperors and Rulers

"Anyone with children at primary school will instantly get the picture: no child’s existence is complete without “circle time”, or “show and tell” sessions at which they are encouraged to parade their achievements and examine their feelings. The received wisdom on child-rearing says nothing should be allowed to damage a child’s sense of self-worth. Our child-centred society means we fret over what our kids eat, what they wear, their friends, their exam grades and their safety. A US academic has coined the term kindergarchy – a new (affluent) world order in which children rule. Parents seem little more than indentured servants. ‘Life can be hard and you have to learn to deal with it.’" timesonline

"When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, my parents would have parties and the children would run around the garden, staying up late and eating what they felt like — there was much less of a controlling atmosphere. Now, we try to control every aspect of our children’s lives. We think we can create the perfect child by giving them the right music lessons or choosing the right pushchair. It is taboo that any conversation with another adult should take precedence over something going on with your child. When I was a child, children played, and I don’t remember expecting my mother to give me her attention no matter what she was doing. So her world is punctuated by an unbearable high-pitched squeaking. To me, this is a metaphor for our generation’s philosophy of parenting." timesonline

Food for thought. Both columns represent some of what Joli and I have been thinking lately, but express it all better than we have been able to. Very pleased we are on the same page.

Parenting. Bring it on.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Roll on Windows 7?

“This isn’t a matter of dissing Microsoft, but Intel information technology staff just found no compelling case for adopting Vista,” the person said.

Ouch.

Et tu, Intel

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

swobo ultra sl model


swobo ultra sl model, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Temptation. Dogs with dogs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Spud update


12 weeks to go.
Wife has belly, but no toppling over yet.
Bearing up well, but think will get tired of the girth soon.
Next scan is July 3rd and need to try to make it to this one rather than forgetting again!

The Beauty of Commentary

Amazon customer reviews. Remarkably useful for pre-purchase product research.

For example:
Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable Price $499.99 Amazon Link

(Yes. 250 quid for a 1.5 metre stereo cable. Insane. 'Audio enthusiast' = saddo)

Customer reviews include the following,

"..the bits moved so fast the printer collapsed into a naked singularity, right there in my office.. ..After I took delivery, Al Gore was mysteriously drawn to my home, where he pronounced that Global Warming had been suspended in my vicinity.. ..Marked down 1 star because it still won't let you do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.. ..I accidentally dropped one end of my Denon cable into a glass of Tuscan whole milk I was drinking. Later when I finished my milk, my right arm (lost in an accident in 1987) spontaneously grew back. Is that normal?"

Tags Customers Associate with This Product include, snake oil, ripoff, harry potter and throwing your money away.

Brilliant. via bbgadgets

Speculating on Speculation.

Krugman, "As I’ve said, I don’t have a political dog in this fight. But the nonsense in this debate makes me want to shoot someone in the face. I see that Michael Masters, about whom I had some flattering things to say a few days ago, is now telling Congress that gasoline will go back to $2 a gallon if we crack down on speculators. He forgot to mention that cold fusion will solve all our energy problems any day now."

Not just Krugman, excerpts from a letter to the editor of the Greenwich Time newspaper, "Michael Masters states: "Speculators have now stockpiled, via the futures market, the equivalent of 1.1 billion barrels of petroleum, effectively adding eight times as much oil to their own stockpile as the United States has added to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the last five years." Nonsense. Until and unless they take delivery of the oil, speculators have not stockpiled a thing. All they have are pieces of paper. Blaming speculators for high prices of oil may score political points, but that does not make it correct."

Remember. It's all nonsense.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hammer and Tickle

Three workers find themselves locked up, and they ask each other what they’re in for. The first man says: “I was always ten minutes late to work, so I was accused of sabotage.” The second man says: “I was always ten minutes early to work, so I was accused of espionage.” The third man says: “I always got to work on time, so I was accused of having a Western watch.”

Pravda announced that it welcomed letters to the editor. All correspondents were required to include their full name, address and next of kin.

timesonline

Thursday, June 19, 2008

how many garlics?


how many garlics?, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Big Inoshishi


The ones that roam around the Shimoda vegetable lots are just like this I am sure.. I've seen the unchi!

Petrol Savings Calculator

Dumpstering your way into a state of Zen

"SHED is an acronym for "separate the treasures, heave the trash, embrace your identity from within and drive yourself forward."

How to Live With Just 100 Things - time.com

100 things? How about 100 bikes? :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Downfire Loadfox

Download Day - English

I don't own a cellphone..

Typical Reactions to the Revelation of not owning a Cell Phone, By Year

1998: Solidarity ("Yeah, me neither--I hate those things!")

1999: Envy ("Lucky you; I had to get one for work.")

2000: Indifference ("Okay, what's your home phone number then?")

2001: Encouragement ("You should get one--you can play Tetris on them now!")

2002: Confusion ("I thought you were, like, a tech guy.")

2003: Sympathy ("They're getting pretty cheap. You'll be able to afford one soon.")

2004: Irritation ("So how am I supposed to get a hold of you?")

2005: Derision ("If we go out tonight I'll send you a fax.")

2006: Skepticism ("Are you serious?")

2007: Awe ("Wow, you're like the last one.")

2008: Incomprehension ("You don't ... how ...?")

defective

Economic conditions on Mars

"An open letter to the governor of the Bank of England and to the chancellor of the exchequer from Mr Two-Point-Two, a thirty-four-year old school teacher from Anytown, UK.

Dear governor, dear chancellor,

I've read the letters you've sent to each other (pdf links) explaining why inflation is above target and why it's so important that it should be returned to 2% without undue delay. It occurred to me that it might be useful for you to know that I don't recognise the economy you describe, even though I am supposed to live in it.

You could be referring to economic conditions on Mars, not the financial pressures facing our family.

The thrust of your letters appears to be that salaries and wages must, under no circumstances, rise to compensate for the squeeze in living standards precipitated by the recent jumps in fuel, power and food prices.

The cost of living has been rising much faster than that in our household.

As a young family with children, our main outgoings are:

1) food - up by 8% over the past year

2) energy - up 10%

3) petrol - up one-fifth

And that's not all. We bought our first house 18 months ago. Our two-year fixed rate mortgage is coming to an end and - from what I can gather - our repayments are likely to rise by more than 25%.

We are extremely anxious about the future. And it's not just our spending power that seems to be shrinking before our eyes. All our savings were tied up in our house - and the recent fall in house prices has almost wiped out what little wealth we had.

Right now I haven't got the time to work out who to blame for what's gone wrong. But before the next election, I intend to find the time.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Two-Point-Two"

bbc - letter to the governor


This is poetic.. take this quote "salaries and wages must, under no circumstances, rise to compensate" and note the British MPs have just asked for 21% pay rise., which Gordon is planning to block. Let's not mention the Commons expense allowance scandal.

Chinese analysis

"Obama is a graduate from a first-class university," the editorial continued. "He is a symbol of assimilation rather than a representative of different races coming together. Obama did not break the superiority complex of white people. On the contrary, his appearance strengthened the superiority complex of white people."

WSJ via marginal

Just goes to show that our Asian neighbors are much more clever than you might otherwise think..

Monday, June 16, 2008

Smart car vending machine




and you thought getting hot udon from a vending machine was cool.. Trends in Japan

Vending Machine Extravaganza

Finance News

"On Wall Street today, news of lower interest rates sent the stock market up, but then the expectations that these rates would be inflationary sent the market down, until the realization that lower rates might stimulate the sluggish economy pushed the market up, before it ultimately went down on fears that an overheated economy would lead to a reimposition of higher interest rates."

bp

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday PB Miscellanea

Ritz Carlton Miami has a Tanning Butler. He has three levels of tanning cream by the pool for guests plus an Evian spray to cool you down.

Prince Charles has bought four alpacas to act as “bouncers” on his organic farm where they chase and trample foxes.

Giraffe milk has just been pronounced as kosher.

Beavers are back! The first dam of its kind for 800 years is being built in England and the pair look like they are about to breed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fuel Price

As the US shrieks about USD4 per gallon, here is a table of fuel prices in Europe.



themessthatgreenspanmade

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flip out


Office Worker Goes Absolutely Insane - Watch more free videos

and from another angle with sound..


Office Worker Meltdown Second Angle - Watch more free videos

The Test

The Chemical Brothers with the Verve's Richard Ashcroft..

2008 Democratic primary in just 8 minutes

Tigers. Racing Badgers. Can't Wait :)

Ein, Zwei, Drei.. Extra Looping!

Gazump, Gazund, Jingle Mail, and now, Buy and Bail

"Next month, Michelle Augustine plans to walk away from her four-bedroom house in a Sacramento, Calif., subdivision and let the property fall into foreclosure. But before doing so, she hopes to lock in the purchase of another home nearby.

"I can find the same exact house as what I live in right now for half the price," says Ms. Augustine.

In markets hit hardest by falling home prices and rising foreclosures, lenders and brokers are discovering a new phenomenon: the "buy and bail," in which borrowers with good credit buy a new home -- often at a much lower price -- then bail out of the "upside down" mortgage on their first home."

WSJ


As Calculated Risk wryly puts it "this type of fraud is almost never prosecuted - and extremely difficult to prove, unless someone tells a reporter what they're going to do."

Monday, June 09, 2008

Why ride?

It’s the same guys this week, pretty much, as it was last week. Since it’s mid-season, everybody has some kind of form. You can try to keep the pace easy, everybody says it’s just a spin today. Whatever. But pretty soon you can bet you'll be going at a near-maxed-out pace, on the rivet in one way or another.

So you pull out, hear the clacking of a dozen or more cleats into clipless pedals. Everybody swims around a little on their seat getting their rear end positioned “just so.” Let's go.

It’s an easy spin for a while. A few guys with Fresh Leg Syndrome go off the front a bit before they wise up and remember there is a fifty or sixty mile stretch laid out in front of them, and it wouldn’t do to blow up early.

You get to some hills, and a couple guys go off the front a bit. They don’t totally peg it – they’re being charitable to the fatboys on the ride, going a little easy. There’s not much talking here, just a lot of heavy breathing, and a lot of silence as the ride strings out a bit.

Over the top and it’s back together. The fatboys move to the front and start setting a good tempo pace. The big boys chat at the front, pounding out tempo, the climbers find a nice wheel to settle behind, and all is right in the world for a while.

There’s a flat tire, with the signature hisssssssthwackhisssssssthwackhissssssthwack. The group stops and gathers around the patient, everybody offering their considered medical opinion, one or two brave souls stepping up to risk embarrassment and help speed the repair. Soon, you’re back on the road, and you’re on the road with friends – even if the legs never get better today, the day itself is as good as it will ever get.

The golden hour of the ride is transcendent. The miles slip by in a gentle hiss of tires on smooth tarmac, and in occasional gusts of wind that each rider hears separately through the helmet air vents. The riders who aren’t talking in this part of the ride seem almost unconscious, almost otherworldly… they are fully alive in the moment, open to the experience to the point that they are only experiencing it, not commenting on it, not thinking about the moment or anything else. Just soaking it in.

Then the golden hour ends, and the ride is back into the hills and rollers, the hour of hell is upon us. The riders see-saw back and forth in and out of the group. They come to a hill and some rouleurs power up it, staying ahead of the climbers until near the top, when the climbers with their steady spin pass the rouleurs. Then it’s down the other side, and into some more hills. There’s a long rolling flat where the rouleurs, near their limit, pound out tempo while trying to recover, and the climbers absorb the punishment.

Then it’s onto a real climb, and some of the rouleurs are off the back. Maybe one or more of them have a long chase back onto the group. The group is content to let them suffer, and one-by-one, they rejoin. The group slows its tempo a bit, enough to still punish the outliers, but not enough to make it a slow ride. Back together, the group gathers its strength for the last climb.

There’s a game that goes on here about who will lead out into the hill. Some lead out really strong, and hope they can get off the front and hold it to the top, which is the de facto sprint line. Others spin and hope to overtake near the top. Still others lag off the back, content that they’ve left it all out on the road somewhere the group passed an hour ago. It’s not only the riders’ energy that has been left out on the road – worries about family, work stress and all the cares in the world are back there, in some immense cosmic garbage can. We won’t be seeing those again, not this week.

Up and over the top, the end is clearly in sight, psychologically and physically, and they’ve made it through with great shared effort.

Everybody spins easy, and the talk reverts to chit-chat, now it’s about what the rest of the day and the rest of the week will be. Although the riders were weighed down by cares at the start of the ride, by the end, they are looking forward to taking up their burdens again. Sweat and calories aren’t the only thing they burned off on that ride.

The group ride may have a slightly different cast from week to week. It might be fast, or sometimes a little slower. But in the end, it is *exactly* the same from week to week. And that is why we keep coming back."

Almost poetry :)

unholyrouleur

The Grateful Dead economy

"Do you remember what it was like back in the old days when we had a New Economy? In the 1990s, jobs were abundant, oil was cheap and information technology was about to change everything.

Then the technology bubble popped. Many highly touted New Economy companies, it turned out, were better at promoting their images than at making money — although some of them did pioneer new forms of accounting fraud. After that came the oil shock and the food shock, grim reminders that we’re still living in a material world.

So much, then, for the digital revolution? Not so fast. The predictions of ’90s technology gurus are coming true more slowly than enthusiasts expected — but the future they envisioned is still on the march.

In 1994, one of those gurus, Esther Dyson, made a striking prediction: that the ease with which digital content can be copied and disseminated would eventually force businesses to sell the results of creative activity cheaply, or even give it away. Whatever the product — software, books, music, movies — the cost of creation would have to be recouped indirectly: businesses would have to “distribute intellectual property free in order to sell services and relationships.”

For example, she described how some software companies gave their product away but earned fees for installation and servicing. But her most compelling illustration of how you can make money by giving stuff away was that of the Grateful Dead, who encouraged people to tape live performances because “enough of the people who copy and listen to Grateful Dead tapes end up paying for hats, T-shirts and performance tickets. In the new era, the ancillary market is the market.”

Now, the strategy of giving intellectual property away so that people will buy your paraphernalia won’t work equally well for everything. To take the obvious, painful example: news organizations, very much including this one, have spent years trying to turn large online readership into an adequately paying proposition, with limited success.

But they’ll have to find a way. Bit by bit, everything that can be digitized will be digitized, making intellectual property ever easier to copy and ever harder to sell for more than a nominal price. And we’ll have to find business and economic models that take this reality into account.

It won’t all happen immediately. But in the long run, we are all the Grateful Dead.

Well, if it was good enough for Charles Dickens, I guess it’s good enough for me."

krugman

Imagine if you could only get a band's MP3s by actually going to see them live..

Saturday, June 07, 2008

ready for the wada tt attack


ready for the wada tt attack, originally uploaded by Knotty.

Wada-Takao Loop, 148km, 5:30hrs of riding..


View Larger Map

Elevation Profile

Friday, June 06, 2008

Spin

From Paul Krugman to Willem Buiter to Eric Boehlert, I conclude that Hillary Clinton did not instill enough trust. Be it in the media, in her campaign team, or amongst the voters.

"Wanting it that desperately ought to be a sufficient condition for not getting it."

"the intense media spin it sparked -- highlights a disturbing rise in a new form of campaign journalism"

"Only the most gnarled cynic, or a member of the Clinton family (but I repeat myself), could fail to be moved by Barack Obama’s historic triumph in the Democratic primary this week."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Carbs

"Carbo-loading in advance of exercise is not the most efficient way to stock muscles with fuel, physiologists now know, thanks in large part to research conducted by Ivy. When reviewing studies of diabetics, he became intrigued by similarities with his own tests on cyclists: for both groups, insulin in the blood was more effective at carrying energy into the muscles if those muscles had recently been active. “Exercise makes your muscles more responsive to insulin, and this insulin, in turn, increases glycogen muscle uptake,” he says. In other words, exercise prompts your muscles to absorb more fuel — glucose, which is stored as glycogen — from the bloodstream. (Carbo-loading can’t take advantage of this insulin response because it precedes, rather than follows, a workout.) Your body is actually primed by the exercise to help itself replenish lost fuel.

This improved insulin response, however, lasts only for a brief time after a workout. “You have a window of about 30 to 45 minutes,” Ivy says. After that, muscles become resistant to insulin and much less able to absorb glucose. Drinking or eating carbohydrates immediately after a strenuous workout, at a level of at least one gram per kilogram of body weight, is therefore essential to restoring the glycogen you’ve burned. Wait even a few hours and your ability to replenish that fuel drops by half.

It’s also crucial that you take in some protein. “Protein co-ingestion can accelerate muscle glycogen repletion by stimulating endogenous insulin release,” says Luc van Loon, an associate professor of human movement sciences at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and the author of several important studies about recovery. Translation: coupling protein with carbohydrates prompts your muscles to store even more glycogen for use during your next workout.

“I’d advise people to have their recovery drink ready and waiting for them before they leave on a run or long bike ride,” Ivy says. Ivy himself often drinks low-fat chocolate milk, but any food or drink that includes both carbohydrates and protein — a recovery drink, a smoothie, yogurt — will work.

Then have a real meal within two hours. “You can maintain increased insulin levels and accelerated rates of recovery for about four to six hours if you continue eating,” Ivy says. Of course, you can also get by without such diet timing. “But you won’t recover as well,” Ivy continues. “You probably won’t be able to work out as hard on a daily basis.”"

Gibbens-san pushed me to try a protein and carbohydrate shake after hard workouts. The results are fascinating, much quicker recovery, much less muscle tenderness. This NYTimes article summarises the process very well. I suggest you try it. It is a bit counterintuitive to consume 40+ grams of sugar - that's 10+ teaspoons - after a hard workout but it does work. The meal 2 hours after the shake should not be missed.

Liar, liar, pants on fire

"For my money, the "we were lied to" chorus only represents the obdurately self-righteous cluelessness in every band of the American political spectrum. We lied to ourselves. We continue to lie to ourselves every day. The US public barely understands the first thing about the energy predicament we're in, and what it means for how we live in this country -- or how we get along with the rest of the world -- and the news media tragically reflects that ignorance. We fantasize about being "energy independent" and still being able to drive to the mall three times a day to eat caesar salads grown on the other side of North America. Get this: we deserve exactly what is happening to us. We might as well keep on lying to ourselves to pretend that we are not descending into a dark phase of our own history. After all, the true basis of American life these days is to feel good about yourself no matter what you do."

He's a bit monotonous, but Kunstler has a defiant viewpoint.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dinnertime

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."

Calvin Trillin

Clinton - The Comeback Id

Clinton spends his time veering between feeling sorry for himself and working to help others, between doing good and giving his enemies fresh ammunition, between vindicating his legacy and vitiating it. “So much of my life is characterized by stories of self-indulgence and self-destruction.. So much of my life is focused not on honest differences of policy but on personal attacks. So much of modern media is dominated by people who earn fortunes by demeaning others, defining them by their worst moments, exploiting their agonies. Who’s happier? The uniters or the dividers? The builders or the breakers? The givers or the takers? I think you know the answer.”

vanityfair

Dude. No arms..

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Monday, June 02, 2008

team bgc



5108 Benjamin Allen 01:23:07
5097 David Jacob 01:30:33
5094 Carlos Fernandez 01:30:47
5095 Tom Quantrille 01:31:32
2296 Julianne Prechtl 01:32:17
5098 Bryon Gibbens 01:34:20
5100 Michael Karaehe 01:36:59
5096 James Knott 01:37:14
5106 David Litt 01:40:33
5109 Konstantin Prodanov 01:40:42
5107 Stephen Coady 01:40:45
5093 Walter Donahue 01:40:46
5104 Christopher Orr 01:48:07

Statement 159

"Merrill Lynch & Co., Citigroup Inc. and four other U.S. financial companies have used an accounting rule - statement 159 - adopted last year to book almost $12 billion of revenue after a decline in prices of their own bonds. The rule allows them to report gains when market prices for
their liabilities fall.
The new math, while legal, defies common sense. Merrill added $4 billion of revenue during the past three quarters as the market value of its debt fell. That was the result of higher yields demanded by investors.
"They can post substantial gains as a result of a decline in their own creditworthiness,'' said James Cataldo, an assistant professor of accounting at Suffolk University in Boston. "It's completely legitimate, but it doesn't make sense by any way we currently have of thinking of net income.''
The paper profits have helped offset more than $160 billion of writedowns taken by U.S. financial-services companies during the past year. Now some investors and analysts say the winnings are illusory and may have to be reversed."

bloomberg


Brilliant.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

and then they were done


and then they were done, originally uploaded by Knotty.

up top


up top, originally uploaded by Knotty.

fuji sun morning


fuji sun morning, originally uploaded by Knotty.

walt & kon


walt & kon, originally uploaded by Knotty.

tom q & jk


tom q & jk, originally uploaded by Knotty.

fhc - start area


fhc - start area, originally uploaded by Knotty.

spot the fat cyclist


spot the fat cyclist, originally uploaded by Knotty.