l33tminion: (HHGTG Stub)
Unlike previous years, this year's trip to Sandy Island Camp wasn't a digital hiatus. I didn't leave my phone at home this time. For one thing, I wanted to have the camera, and for another, I was driving and wanted to bring the phone for nav. But unless I'm really committed to taking a complete break from the internet (and I wasn't), I won't do it, so I spent a lot of my time at camp listening to podcasts or huddled in the shadow of the internet shed.1

But it did mean a lot of time to relax, particularly as the kid had two grandparents and an aunt who wanted to make the most of quality time. Early on, it was, "Can I watch the baby? Change a diaper? Take her for a walk?" Sure, if you insist! Later in the week, it was more like the kid would just vanish and I'd look up and think, "Where did the baby go?"

Eris is still determinedly working on improving her mobility. This makes her extra interactive, but also extra tired and hungry. Introducing her to new foods is fun, and she eats not nearly as messily as I would have expected. Aside from rice cereal, we've gotten in some banana (her favorite) and plain yogurt (which she also liked).

I did manage to get in a bit of reading at camp (though I notably did not read any books from start to finish):

Piketty's Capital - I started reading this at Sandy last summer, planned to find some time to finish it during the year, and failed to do so. It's pretty interesting, though, as a historical account of the conditions that caused inherited fortunes to dominate the landscape of wealth in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries and why those conditions were notably absent for much of the 20th century. It's also interesting as a bit of futurism that predicts a return to low growth, extreme wealth inequality, a shrinking middle class, and the reemerging dominance of inherited fortunes. The last part, concerning policy recommendations, will be of interest to liberals, horrifying to libertarians, and probably politically infeasible in any case. Still, I agree with Bill Gates that the book is worth your time if you're interested in the topic.

Haidt's The Righteous Mind - Started this book some time before camp. This book's subtitle "Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion" promises more than the book delivers, and Haidt has blind-spots you could drive a truck through, and for all that he notes that he's a former liberal, Haidt seems to think that some of the moral intuitions he cites are absent from liberal politics instead of employed in different ways. Still, it's not bad as a pop-science book about moral psychology.

(If the author's name sounds familiar, Haidt has most recently gotten a lot of attention for writing conservative "what's wrong with the kids these days" think-pieces, including this one in The Atlantic.)

Cities and Space: The Future Use of Urban Land - Started but haven't finished yet. A collection of essays that was a product of an academic symposium, published in 1966. Interesting so far. Notably, it leads off with an essay that predicts the main problem of urban land in the future will be its ever-declining value as transportation and communication costs trend towards zero (the author also predicts that automated freeway navigation systems will allow traffic to flow at 150 mph bumper-to-bumper).

The weather at camp was pleasantly cool, and that continued on our return. (Had to get out a jacket, unusual for July.) Julie's dad was in town for a conference, and that Sunday was my 30th birthday, so we had some fun celebratory meals. Not a bad milestone. I did seem to manage to check all the boxes just in time for the end of my 20s.

Since then, summer has once again turned on the heat.

The handyman is scheduled to do some work on the house related to baby-proofing and climate control, but that's been delayed because he's sick. Hopefully the delay won't be too long.

I've been playing Undertale, which really is as good as people have claimed. And I have played a bit of that new Pokémon game that everyone (kind of shockingly close to literally everyone) is talking about.2

Eristic improvements: Substantial increases in mobility. Maintaining pre-crawling pose, reverse-gear backwards scooting, improved rolling. I'd say the kid is almost to crawling. In fact, she just got in her first bit of what might technically be crawling, which involved taking a lot of wind-up bounces before flinging a leg forward. She's also become more talkative. Definitely making the transition from cooing to babbling, some of her vocalizations are now recognizably featuring syllables and consonants. Some improvements in skill at manipulating objects, particularly those spoons.

1. The camp office, sole source of wifi on the island. There is some cell reception but it's terrible, particularly on T-Mobile.
2. I joked that it turns out that all Ingress needed to be wildly popular was to be combined with the most successful video-game franchise of all time. Of course, that's not really a joke, and it shouldn't really be so surprising that's a winning formula. (Though I do wonder if the game will have staying power, or if its popularity will be a brief fad.)
l33tminion: (Jon Stewart)
Here's a local news story I neglected to mention here earlier:

A local supermarket renowned for it's big crowds and cheap produce is in turmoil after the former CEO was ousted. The two main investors are cousins and their families, Arthur T. Demoulas (the former CEO) and Arthur S. Demoulas. After long-standing conflicts, the board ejected ATD and named James Gooch (a former president at RadioShack) and Felicia Thornton as co-CEOs. The Arthur S. side seems to be looking to increase shareholder dividends and possibly sell off the business to private equity. Other big supermarket chains in the area have significantly higher prices and worse employee compensation, so it doesn't take a genius to predict the planned new course for the company.

The result: Wildcat strikes and massive employee protests. Enough disruption to the warehouses to cause truckloads of spoilage and empty shelves in the stores (which was a bizarre sight to see there). Associates putting up protest signs in the store and picketing on their off-hours. Organizers fired, threats of mass firings. Counter-threats from pretty much every store manager of mass resignations. Sole demand of "return the old CEO". Many customers boycotting, others turning away due to the disruption in service. The whole massive supermarket chain wrecked in the space of a few weeks.

ATD has offered to buy out the other shareholders, but the board is considering other bids, and the ASD faction would have to accept the offer. I wouldn't be surprised to see him sell out to some big chain anyways. Sack the workers and sell the buildings to some other supermarket chain for a fraction of their previous value. Livelihoods wrecked and a successful business razed because owning half of a $3B enterprise wasn't enough to assuage ASD's greed.

More here, here, and here.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Links post! Been far too long since I did one of those. Some very select stuff from the past few months:

Side Effected: A short-story film by my cousin Lev, now making the film festival circuit. Good stuff.

Daylight Savings Time is Terrible: A proposal to eliminate daylight savings time and move the continental US to two time-zones. It would certainly make working on the east coast for a west coast based company a bit more convenient.

The Turning Point in Freestyle Chess: Chess computers play at grandmaster level, but for now humans plus computers are the ultimate chess-playing team. But will that stay the case?

Barcelona as Airport Suburb: Housing prices have become so high in London that it might be cheaper to live in Barcelona and commute via Ryanair four days a week. Crazy stuff, though I wouldn't want the economic viability of my living arrangement to be dependent on the exact pricing model of a single discount airline.

The 120 Hour Workweek: An interesting experiment in productivity and self-quantification.

More Guests, Empty Houses: An article on the effect of AirBnB on housing prices in Marfa, Texas.

21 Amazing Hotels: Pretty pictures!
l33tminion: (L33t)
Work is busy, and much of my free time is still occupied with wedding chores. I figure if I make good progress in the next few months, wedding chores will have taken only a year total.

The festival that Pandemonium Books ran last weekend was quite fun.

Thank you notes are taking a while, but with steady progress I hope to have them done (or all but done) before Thanksgiving. I've selected, organized, and archived wedding photos, and they're now all up here.

I'm trying to up my game at work. I'm working on a 20% project where I can do some pair programming with Xave, figuring out how to improve open-source tools my team uses, trying to contribute more to documentation and process improvements, and doing more studying (I joined a programming reading group at work and applied some training budget to books; my office has a bookshelf now!).

Bitcoin is booming again, the perpetual weird technology / finance story of the year.

Twitter had its IPO, and sure is worth a lot for a company that doesn't make any money.

Fall scenery is beautiful, but the weather has turned suddenly cold after being gloriously unseasonable for a bit.

It seems everyone I know is still getting sick. This year seems nearly as bad as last, sickness-wise.

Julie's mom is in town this weekend for a visit. It's great to see her again. We all enjoyed happy-hour appetizers at The Cheesecake Factory, I finally tried their avocado eggrolls (as good as I'd hoped!). Hopefully colds will not interfere too much with the weekend's plans.
l33tminion: (Yay!)
In the last couple of weeks, I've become interested in Bitcoin again, after reading Gwern's essay on Silk Road and writing a run-down of the technology in response, seeing the US government issue regulatory guidance on the subject (viewed by the market as encouraging, perhaps surprisingly), and seeing odd news in connection (or maybe not) with the crisis in Cyprus. So I've acquired a few Bitcoins of my very own. Hopefully the opportunity to play around with that emerging technology will be worth the cost, this is one of the cases where taking the effort to be an early adopter is much cheaper (depending on how you look at it).

I looked back in time to see if I'd commented on the subject before, and I did, prior to the 2011 crash. Not surprisingly, I was totally wrong. (One of many good examples of why taking financial advice from me would be a bad idea.) Well, not totally wrong. That post was June 2, 2011, so I was right about the collapse of "the current bubble" (and I'm not making any strong predictions about the new current bubble), but completely wrong about Bitcoins being largely useless (e.g. Bitcoinstore as a Newegg competitor, BitPay or CoinBase as point-of-sale solutions, Bitspend as a more general intermediary). More interesting than I'd thought.

Other stuff: Passover seder with my family was nice. DJ's band (The Silent Order) played their first gig with KICK the Band, Melt, and Rose Compact at Club Bohemia beneath the Cantab Lounge on Friday. I had my first relaxing weekend in a long time; hopefully April will be less crazy than March. I started on taxes (late this year).
l33tminion: (Neobama)
I was re-listening to the second presidential debate (specfically, Democracy Now!'s expanding the debate coverage), and what a change from the first! Very worth watching.

The exchange on women in the workplace in particular was worth some comment. I'm all in favor of giving props where props are due, so I'd thought that Mitt Romney's "binders" gaffe deserved some defense. Sure, Romney didn't use the best rhetoric in his opportunity to talk about the value of diversity in government and the ease of falling back on prejudice, his bit about work-family balance did make it seem that he thought of that as something only women require, and his comment about growing the economy so much that companies will be practically forced to hire women just makes his opinion of women seem not-that-positive. But if Romney was really that proactive about avoiding gender bias in his gubantorial administration, that would have been commendable.

Unfortunately, in addition to being badly stated, that anecdote seems to have been largely fictious (The Boston Phoenix via In These Times):

[...] in 2002 -- prior to the election [...] a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. [...]

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I've checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I've just presented it is correct -- and that Romney's claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn't care about -- and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about -- budget, business development, etc. -- went to women.

Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)

[...]
(emphasis mine)
l33tminion: (Criminal)
For those following the story of crooked Jon Corzine or the state of Wall Street in general, read this. Damon Runyon would be proud.
l33tminion: (Neobama)
Annotated ruling here. The law was upheld (with minor tweaks to the bit about Medicaid, the government can't cut off funds to get states to go along with the Medicaid expansion).

Four of the nine Supreme Court Justices (Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Breyer, and Kagan) think that the government could even force you to buy health insurance and arrest, fine, or jail you if you don't.

But those four plus Chief Justice Roberts think that the government can levy an additional tax on people who don't buy health insurance, so the ACA stands. (More on that here and here.)

The Anti-Injuction Act doesn't prevent the suit because legislation about how "taxes" act has to do with what congress calls a "tax", but judicial review depends on what's a de facto tax. (Including for enumerated powers, by that ruling. SCOTUS could have struck the law and said, "Try passing it with the word 'tax' actually in there," but they didn't.)

It seems that Roberts changed his vote after the initial conference?

The remaining Justices (Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Alito) disagree with the commerce clause argument (with Thomas writing an additional opinion that he even disagrees with the standard the court is using to decide commerce clause arguments, set in US v. Lopez; he feels that allowing Congress to regulate activity that "substantially affects" interstate commerce is way too broad), and think that the "it's actually a tax" argument is flim-flam. Scalia notes that there's precedent for the court viewing an excessive tax as a de facto penalty, but not for viewing a slight fine as a de facto tax (even if it's collected by the IRS, some other penalties are as well).

(But a law with the same effect that used the word "tax" would be constitutional under Congress's tax power, if the exceptions were stated as exceptions to the "tax" instead of exemptions to the "mandate", and the bill originated in the House of Representatives and followed the rest of Congressional procedure for tax laws? Scalia thinks "maybe" but is furious that question received approximately no consideration at all.)

Overall, I think it's better that the act stands, and I'm fine with the liberal justice's arguments on commerce clause grounds. But Robert's arguments that the "penalty" for the "mandate" is in fact a tax are really flimsy, Scalia demolishes him on those grounds. I think that Roberts was wrong to switch his vote on that ground. If he succumbed to outside political pressure, that's despicable. And come on, if he was really bowing to the realpolitik, shouldn't he have shifted his position on the commerce clause?

ETA: On further consideration, I do recognize that Roberts is taking a rather clever position here. He's holding back from a far more significant striking down of legislation than the courts have done in decades, while still admitting some limit to commerce clause powers, and he's giving the administration a nearly ideal outcome while still implicitly criticizing them for sneaking in a tax increase.
l33tminion: (Rock!)
This weekend, saw several films from the Brattle's repertory series "Nicholas Cage: Greatest American Actor", a double-feature of Con Air and Ghost Ride: Spirit of Vengeance and a showing of Face/Off. All far more enjoyable than they should be. I enjoyed all three (though I'd only really recommend Con Air, which is a rather brilliant send-up of its genre with an all-star cast).

In broader news, the latest economic trainwreck remains unexploded, but [livejournal.com profile] bradhicks's take is most interesting.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Programming: Here's an article on binary math in C. For more practical stuff (in you're a Python programmer), read this bit on the fileinput library in Python (very useful, but I hadn't heard of it previously).

Essays: Ever play Monopoly and wonder why the game (as you were taught) is so slow? That's because you were taught wrong.

Douglas Hofstatder makes a point about language by analogy.

A piece on the book and television series Game of Thrones and how it relates to the aesthetic of fascism.

Economics and Society: Foxconn (major Chinese electronics manufacturer) to replace workers with robots. But of course the increased automation will lead to new opportunities for those workers, once freed of the drudgery of such boring jobs?

Meanwhile, there's this HuffPo article about women increasingly turning to prostitution (called by other names) in order to pay tuition or student loans.

A Bit of History: A story about a computer virus that DDOSed the entire internet in 2003. (The Akami tech featured in the article is a friend of mine, he currently spends his time making the mathematical art published here.)

A story about the short and violent life of Robert "Yummy" Sandifer, gang member, murderer, and murder victim before he was killed in 1994 at the age of 11.

Misc: A talk on organizing an art show featuring 100 different artists, who are all the same artist.

An article on the challenges involved in Arabic-language localization for film.

A short story titled Nanolaw with Daughter.
l33tminion: (Peak Oil)
The results of the debt deal are in:
1. Pretty much everyone (especially Japan) going "oh shit we'd better devalue our currencies".
2. Pretty much everyone running around in a SELL EVERYTHING panic.

Oil's down below $87. Didn't expect to see below $90 until the next real crash, but hey, maybe that's here.
l33tminion: (Peak Oil)
It isn't "balanced" and it's the end of any "stimulus", but the debt deal doesn't really involve that much in terms of spending cuts. It puts Democrats in a far better political position than the one they blundered into during the extension of the Bush tax cuts, which resulted in the current (now just past) crisis. And it's not nearly as bad as a constitutional crisis or an instantaneous long-term cut of government spending by a third.
l33tminion: (AMERICA!)
LJ seems to have survived yet another bombardment from the Russian internet death lasers.

The US hits the debt ceiling on Tuesday, if a deal isn't reached. I did some writing on that here. Basically, the most likely case if a deal isn't reached is that some government spending doesn't happen. What spending does happen is based in part on constitutional requirements, Treasury Bonds get paid off (so it's not technically a "default") and judicial salaries also continue uninterrupted. It's a pretty steep cut, though, about a third of ongoing bills would not get paid. (This visualization is pretty good, but I wish that constitutionally-protected payments were separated out better, the aforementioned judicial salaries are lumped in with the salaries of a lot of clerks who really would be out of work during a budget crunch.)

I'm going to do that thing I do where I paste in a link and say "no, seriously, read the whole thing". It's very astute analysis on an important political issue (if no compromised is reached, the most important political issue of the year... I hope). Except this time it's four links, to this series by [livejournal.com profile] solarbird: One, two, three, three, four. (If you liked those, bonus one and two.)
l33tminion: (Default)
Other things that I should kick myself for not investing in: Bitcoins. Of course, Bitcoins will probably end up being largely useless and the current bubble is doomed for collapse, but I could have obtained them for cents (or calculated them on ordinary hardware) less than a year ago and been selling them to some sucker for ~$10 each now. Wonder how high that bubble will go before it collapses?

Of course, if I'd seen that a few years ago I'd never have expected the value to bubble since I'd never expect anyone beyond a few libertarian nerds to be interested in the concept.

See also this.
l33tminion: (Default)
The investment advice I'm soliciting in this post is also not, technically, investment advice, as I have no reason to suspect any of you know what you're talking about, either.

So, I've got some money to invest freely. The last time I had some to spare, I made a bit of a "peak oil fund" for kicks, investing it in gold, silver, oil, and alternative energy. That fund gained about 20% in three years, so not terrible.

But it turns out maybe I should have invested it in Netflix (which went from ~$30 to ~$250) or Amazon (which went from ~$50 to ~$200). (Or Apple again. Not investing in Apple is apparently a mistake I make regularly. Though that doesn't make me confident that's a good idea now.)

Netflix I could have called,* but never thought about it, never realized they were publicly traded at that point. Amazon I would not have called: I'd expect Amazon to do well but wouldn't have expected the rise to be that meteoric at this time.

Netflix now has a price-to-earnings ratio of ~70, Amazon's stands at 86. Is it just me, or is there another bubble brewing in the "cool" tech companies?

I'm thinking I may invest a bit in Zipcar because their IPO was recent, I want them to do well, and I think it's reasonably likely that they will. Anything else I should look into?

LinkedIn had a recent IPO, but I'm not sure I'm excited enough about LinkedIn to want to invest. Groupon has an IPO coming up, too, evidently. (Look, this is serious business, I didn't have any money to waste in the 90s.)

* ETA: That's just hindsight bias, there are almost certainly other companies who I had just as much reason to assume would be successful three years ago whose stock has nonetheless not performed nearly as impressively. There's a reasons why most of my investments are in funds managed by people more qualified than I, investing in a variety of things.
l33tminion: (Slacker Revolt)
Education: An essay on why going to any non-top-tier law school is a one-way ticket to penury. Ditto (most of the time) for getting a PhD. An article on the overuse of homework in elementary school.

Music: A love note sent indirectly, a twist on the multitrack music video, an OverthinkingIt essay on the song Like a G6.

The Internets Attack: An article on memetic epidemiology in the Cooks Source plagiarism scandal (more background on that), and a hypothetical story of a flash mob gone wrong.

Clowns Attack: Clowns versus clowns, an anarchist army of rebel clowns.

Politics: Why the health care bill won't be repealed (basically all of it is popular), an article on the downside of diversity, an article on the reaction to deadly airline terrorism before 9/11, an article on pilot unions and airlines.

Food: Making porchetta, omelets inside the egg.

Clothes: A post from the author of Dresden Codak on costume and character, a talk about fashion and free culture, more than you ever wanted to know about men's dress shoes.

Other Interesting: Augmented reality for the colorblind, The World's Greatest Drunk, a psychological history of David Foster Wallace, translating early modern philosophy texts from English to English, a video asking "what do sex workers want their significant others to know?" (produced by Scarlet Alliance, a sex workers' rights organization in Australia).

Finally: Denki Groove's latest video, Fake It!
l33tminion: (DDSR)
Life still crazy.

Last weekend was craft fairs and shoe shopping (new sneakers, boots and dress shoes that fit). (Still up: Custom-fit shirts, a pair of actually-high-quality dress shoes. Want some IC Berlin glasses, too, but those are incredibly expensive.)

Went to a Hanukkah party at Harvard Square and another with extended family.

Monday night, I saw Matisyahu in concert thanks to Michelle (not the Michelle I met at dancing, DJ's new girlfriend). Sadly, she got sick at the last moment and was unable to attend, but she still managed to smuggle a ticket out to me.

Meanwhile, politics has gotten incredibly depressing with Obama's capitulation on taxes. Guess 2012 is the time to find somebody else. This whole "surely we can find middle ground" strategy was worth a try, I thought the country might be ready for it in 2008, but clearly that's not how it's turned out.

The new proposed plan:
1. Bush's tax cuts extended for all income under $250k.
2. An extension to unemployment insurance for one year.
3. An extension to just the tax cuts for the over-$250k bracket for two years.
4. A 2% reduction in the the payroll tax for two years.
5. Estate tax at 35% with $5M exempt for two years. (Lowest rate in American history, save for the missed year of 2010.)

1 and 2 are necessary. But would the Republican's really have held back on 2? Unemployment insurance is a horribly socialist program until it's your constituents, and there are still something like four job-seekers for every job opening. I'd guess the Republicans would have tried to let all the tax cuts expire and blame it on the Democrats, but I think you could get enough votes on just 1, too.

Obama seems to be under the mistaken impression that 3 will be easier to deal with when the middle-class tax cuts are not "held hostage", but that's not going to be the case. Republicans will bring out the same "class warfare" rhetoric. A temporary extension just turns the Bush tax cuts from two political victories for the Republicans into three, at the expense of a rising deficit that will not be forgotten as soon as the compromise is passed and the spending-cut axes come out.

4 has the same problem. In two years, the Republicans will propose an extension and the Democrats will be left trying to defend a "tax raise". No amount of "we said it would be temporary" will help them. And where will the aforementioned axes be aimed again? Oh, right.

5 is a bad idea, too, but honestly, I hardly care at that point. The top marginal tax rate affects how much companies need to spend to increase the income of the highest-paid employees. Decreasing the highest marginal tax rate increases the marginal benefit to companies of increasing executive compensation relative to anything else. Yes, not letting hereditary dynasties accumulate vast amounts of wealth without check is part of the American tradition, and a low estate tax doesn't exactly help with the deficit situation, but at least that doesn't do so much damage to the rest of the economy.
l33tminion: (Error)
Open Source Software:

Went to the Olin Etherpad FAD this last weekend. (Etherpad being a popular piece of open-source collaborative document-editing software, FAD being a "Fedora Activity Day", a hackathon.) Was good, and I can increase the number of open-source projects I've added useful work to by one. Etherpad's code is a mess, though.

Ubuntu 10.10 ("Maverick Meerkat") was released on 10/10. Upgraded my home computer with no problems, upgrading my work machine now.

OpenOffice developers, not willing to take Oracle's (mis)management of the project have forked it, taking the source code and founding LibreOffice. While the process is not quite complete, I think I'll be recommending that over the old OpenOffice.org in the near future.

Open-source Facebook competitor Diaspora put out their first alpha release, demonstrating that when it comes to security, they're completely unprepared.

Finally, here's a brief post on why some of the most successful Linux-based operating systems don't mention Linux in their marketing copy.

Toxic Mudslide in Hungary:

On October 4, a reservoir containing ~700,000 cubic meters of toxic alumina sludge burst in Hungary, killing eight, injuring 123, destroying towns, and threatening local waterways. Photos here. On October 7, the sludge reached the Danube river.

A Bit of Politics:

President Obama vetoed an act requiring state and federal courts to accept notarizations done outside of their jurisdiction, due to concerns that this would facilitate foreclosures based on fraudulent mortgage papers. Several major banks have halted foreclosures in the 23 states that require some judicial process for foreclosures. Last Friday, Bank of America halted all foreclosures, they have since been joined by Goldman Sachs.

Worth watching: Stephen Colbert's in-character testimony to a congressional committee on immigrant labor. Colbert was asked to testify because he was one of the few people to participate in the United Farm Workers "Take Our Jobs" campaign.

Here's a post on the amount of corporate money being spent in the 2010 election in the wake of the Citizen's United case. I still don't think we'll see the whole impact of that case until 2012,

Finally, a post pointing out that the Republican opposition to healthcare reform basically advocates the same thing as the bill that was actually passed.

Other:

Why Groupon may be a terrible deal for small-business owners.

Two videos: Out of Sight (an animated short) and a dance from Genki Sudo (they're odd).

A list of the best Sunday brunch places near Boston, according to followers of BostonTweet.
l33tminion: (Slacker Revolt)
The ITA acquisition has entered the "second request" phase, which means the DOJ is asking for more documents for their investigation of the likely effects of the merger on the competitive environment.

Here's a short talk about how happiness works. Among other things, having the option to go back on a past choice consistently makes people less happy.

Victorian BMX. Death on a bicycle!

An essay on Omelas.

The National Inflation Association defends their predictions against the question of Japan. Why did Japan not face hyperinflation in the face of a huge debt-to-GDP ratio and ultra-low-interest loans?

An Overthinking It post on Old Spice ads, Norse gods, and the end of the world. Especially awesome because it discusses one of the better bits of futurism from Infinite Jest, about the end of television advertising.

Speaking of futurism, it's pretty amazing how much Arthur C. Clark got right, he pretty much called the rise of satellite television, GPS, and global cell-phone networks in a letter written in 1956.

Here's one on a summer camp based on Greek mythology as told by Rick Riordan. I was going to say I posted this for Melissa, but I realized I'd emailed it to her ages ago.

Philosophical Zombies: The Movie.

A video on racism and rhetoric.


Finally, to clear your brain, a few bonuses: A visualization of my foursquare checkins. And this mashup.

Flattened

May. 15th, 2010 02:40 am
l33tminion: (Microbes)
Tough week. Busy at work. Missed work Tuesday and Wednesday because I was struck flat by some sort of virus. Still trying to shake off the last bit of sore throat and cough from that. Hopefully will be able to have a useful workout tomorrow?

Interesting watching the markets crash this week. Seems like everyone's dropping everything to buy gold. Oil is back down close to $70 on decreased expectations for the actually doing things sector of the economy.

Obama's picked a nominee for the Supreme Court, with rather divided reactions. Lawrence Lessig likes her, Brad Hicks is so fed up that he's ready to slap on the Palin '12 bumper sticker and stock up on riot supplies.

MIT Anime Club is closing their events to non-student outsiders and alumni starting next semester, so that's one thing knocked off my schedule.

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