Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

"After cutting a destructive path through the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage along the East Coast this week. Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey and brought with it major flooding, travel disruption, structural damage, and power outages. New York City was especially hard hit. The storm system was so large ­-- nearly 1,000 miles wide at times -- it brought blizzard conditions to West Virginia and 20 foot waves to Lake Michigan. It is projected Sandy will have caused about $30 billion in damages in the United States. To date, the storm claimed more than 100 lives."

Picture Gallery

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Baby Ripley

Best Halloween costume..


Monday, October 29, 2012


Friday, October 26, 2012

The Science of Dogs

Fred Hariss

No Gloves!


“The circumstances were bad,” he says. “But I had no intention of dying. Everyone did their best. Dying would have meant giving up.”

The men express in different ways the conflicted feelings that linger on. Mr Yoshizawa choked with emotion when he explained how the men fought a losing battle to save their local towns and villages. Then he added: “But in Japanese society, many view us as the perpetrators.”

Heroism and humility - The Economist

Thursday, October 25, 2012


"Academic researchers have improved wireless bandwidth by an order of magnitude—not by adding base stations, tapping more spectrum, or cranking up transmitter wattage, but by using algebra to eliminate the network-clogging task of resending dropped packets of data.

"Any IP network will benefit from this technology."

A Bandwidth Breakthrough - MIT Technology Review

A friend you haven’t made yet

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.

Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.

Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.

Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.

I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.

Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger
Special Olympics Virginia

An Open Letter to Ann Coulter


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


"It presents a screen of 49 cartoon animals, in a matrix of seven vertical columns and seven horizontal rows. The aim is to line up three identical animals by swiping the screen vertically or horizontally in one move, which results in a “combo.” When the number of combos reaches a certain level, players obtain a “bomb” that destroys a vertical and horizontal row.

"What makes the game so addictive is that I can only play it for one minute."

Anipang has spread rapidly but also annoys those who don’t play it.

When players run out of hearts, some impassionedly send messages to people on their KaKao Talk contact list begging for more.

It was even worse for iPhone owners. They couldn't download Anipang as the iPhone didn't support KaKao Talk games, they only received the messages but had no way to block them."

Spellbound by Anipang - Korea Times

But how long before 'there is an app for that'?


"The focus now is on the UCI, and especially the press conference yesterday where an increasingly testy president Pat McQuaid spent an hour batting away the suggestion that the UCI might have done anything wrong. Yes, cycling was host to the largest conspiracy ever seen in any sport (well, there are one or two other teams from the 1990s who may secretly feel they’ve been unfairly overlooked) but no, you could hardly have expected the UCI to do anything about it, because people kept lying to them."

Chapeaus - Michael Hutchinson


"Despite Bradley Wiggins' annus mirabilis, Cavendish was Team Sky's most marketable asset and the fact that it was supposedly Dave Brailsford who persuaded his paymasters to waive a potential compensation packet of at least 1 million Euro to smooth the Manxman's exit, though a testament to his loyalty to his riders, raises the spectre of a potential conflict of interests. Brailsford, of course, has a dual role as Sky's team principal and performance director at British Cycling. From a commercial perspective, Cavendish's move is bad for Team Sky, but not necessarily so for British Cycling. Although it must be said that, as the main sponsor of the commercial team, as well as the national body, Sky and its marketing executives will see that as a silver lining too."

Cavendish's move to Omega Pharma - QuickStep worth more than money - Cycling News

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


"Sure, in a tunnel you’ll scare the pants off any nearby Andean highlanders by sounding like their wind god, Huayra-tata, after stepping on a tack. But for the occupants, with the car’s intake ducts making obscene sucking noises just a few inches behind the cabin, it’s like being two boogers riding in a cheetah’s nostrils."
"Pagani says the box, built by racing supplier Xtrac, saves about 200 pounds over a dual-clutch, a critical difference considering the transmission’s location. But it does so at the cost of slightly longer upshifts and lagging torque holes at town speeds. Stomp it and you get a downshift with all the subtlety and finesse of a refrigerator tipping over. The company says it’s still tuning the software."
"The ignition key is an approximately four-inch-long model of the Huayra milled in aluminum that costs the company $3700."
"The dozens of grade-7 titanium bolts in the rear suspension, which run Pagani $98 each and are part of the $37,000 in bespoke titanium hardware in the car, are indexed with all of their laser-etched Pagani logos facing up."
2013 Pagani Huayra - Car And Driver

Monday, October 22, 2012

Stats spin

"Prof Sir Adam Roberts, claims that a lack of quantitative skills leaves you 'vulnerable to misinterpretation and wrong decision-making'. Are your number skills good enough to protect you from spurious arguments made by politicians and salespeople? Take our stats test to find out! Each questions tests your ability to avoid progressively harder statistics and number fallacies."

The stats quiz that tests your vulnerability to spin - Guardian

How did you do?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Harry Potter

“This is another example of the unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank,” he said. “We have sorcerer’s apprentices waving their wands to bring all these mandates into the effect, and now we’re having to live with the consequences.”

Swaps Rule Sends Wall Street Into Clearing Limbo - Bloomberg

Thursday, October 18, 2012

3 Stars

"Michelin still holds a withered widow’s grip on the aspirations of cooks. Few will criticize the guide publicly. Privately, there are many who despair of its limited scope, its snobbery, its fatty favorites. Off the record, one starred chef told me that he dreaded its annual publication not because he might lose his status but because for the next month the booking would be full of customers with faces like smacked bottoms who complained about everything. He says the temperature in the dining room drops until you can almost see your own breath. Michelin has produced a legion of miserable gourmands, people who care more about the valet parking than conviviality—which I suppose was rather the point in the first place."

Michelin, Get Out of the Kitchen! - Vanity Fair

Great article.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


"The world economy isn’t healing. It’s getting sicker. Let’s be clear who’s to blame. Europe and America stand betrayed not just by their leaders of the day, but by their entire political class."

"Fiscal policy is paralyzed in the U.S. by the mutual enmity of the two political tribes. Mitt Romney and the Republicans are simply wrong about the fiscal stimulus of 2009: It was necessary and it should have been bigger. But the Obama administration’s failure to explain how it would restore the government’s long- term finances -- not to mention its desire for a permanently larger government, regardless of the business cycle -- has strengthened the opposition’s case in the minds of many voters. The idea of further short-term stimulus, which the economy sorely needs, has become so politically toxic that the Democrats dare not advance it.

Meanwhile the U.S. economy heads for the “fiscal cliff,” a previously legislated doomsday scenario of tax increases and spending cuts designed to be so stupid it would force the two sides to agree -- as it turns out, they still can’t. Could you make this up? What’s next? Maybe the world’s biggest debtor will threaten to default.

Apparently it’s not possible to worry about the economy and do something about it at the same time."

As Global Economy Sags, Political Leaders Are AWOL - Bloomberg

$5 Trillion


"..he did sell his Old Lane hedge fund to Citi at the top of the market for asshole acquisitions (2007) for $800 million. And then that hedge fund was closed a year later. So maybe he stuck around as CEO out of a sense of guilt."

You Can’t Be Half a Gangster - The Reformed Broker

Monday, October 15, 2012


Big Ball-oon-s

The jump in numbers:

Exit altitude: 128,100ft; 39,045m

Freefall time: 4'20"

Freefall distance 119,846ft; 36,529m

Max velocity: 833.9mph; 1,342.8km/h; Mach 1.24

Friday, October 12, 2012


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Conspiracy Jack

"The paranoid style in American Politics is nothing new. Sometimes the paranoiacs are mostly on the left; these days, they’re mostly on the right. But as with all conspiracy theories, nothing they say can ever be constructive: these are people who will attack empirical evidence long before they use it to help shape their view of the world.

And so, with one unretracted tweet, Welch has effectively rendered himself irrelevant in the so-called thought-leadership world he has dominated for so long. It’s fine to have unusual or minority opinions. What’s not fine is to base those opinions on nothing but ideology, and admit of nothing which could make you change your mind. At that point, you’re not a thinker any more; you’re a theologian. Welch has clearly decided that he would much rather be a pastor, preaching to a like-minded flock of WSJ op-ed page dogmatists, than a participant in substantive debate."

Conspiracy Jack - Felix Salmon

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Tuesday, October 09, 2012


"Alienation from reality being at the very core of the current zeitgeist, the American public can only admire somebody who displays such a buoyant disregard for what is actually happening in the universe. To me, Mr. Romney just gave off the odor of someone who will do anything to get elected while Mr. Obama evinced the dejection of someone doubting it was worth it."

Empty Pageantry - Clusterfuck Nation

The Rumble 2012

Monday, October 08, 2012


Sunday, October 07, 2012

11 Years

"Speaking of massive military action, Romney surrounds himself with Bush retreads and has shown himself to be a devotee of the folly that is the Iraq War. Romney was supportive of the invasion and a cheerleader for Bush’s ongoing failed policy whose only success was making America less safe and getting our troops killed. Even when the mass of America has moved firmly against war in Iraq, Romney lamented President Obama successfully withdrawing our troops from combat there. That’s just insane."

Mitt Romney: From The People Who Brought You The Iraq War - The Daily Banter

"October 7 marks the 11th anniversary of the beginning of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan."

11th Anniversary for Afghan War - VOA

Friday, October 05, 2012


"It is very dangerous to have ignorant people believing that they know something."


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Shut them down

I think we might be screening the wrong people?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Famous Robots

Monday, October 01, 2012


"I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash."

It's Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers - Colin Nissan's, McSweeney's via Kottke