30 March 2007

Sport killings???

WTF! It's like a bad scene out of Clockwork Orange. Disturbing.

Two separate stories:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/19/homeless.attacks/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/03/29/homeless.attack/index.html

Why aren't you seizing the boy?

I have a big head...and little arms.



Everytime I think about it, I chuckle to myself. Then I flail my arms.
Going to have to go watch this movie.

29 March 2007

As a Matter of Fact, Money Does Grow on Trees

With an anti-environmental backlash inflicting one defeat after another on conservationists, a band of maverick economists is riding to the rescue with a startling revelation about the true value of our natural resources: Follow the money, and you end up in a very green place.

For more than a century, the people who run America's extractive industries—logging, mining, and fossil-fuel drilling—have offered one answer. Conservationists and the environmental movement have offered another. Developers have touted job creation and the connection between industrial exploitation and economic vitality. Environmentalists have grounded their appeals in ecological science and the value of wilderness to the human soul. Always at odds, locked in ideological opposition, the two sides, it seems, have long been speaking different languages.

Amid all the noise, both sides are failing to hear the whisper of a bold development that could break the deadlock and revolutionize sustainable environmental policy: the arrival of wilderness economics, a dollars-and-cents way to attach a fair and reliable estimate to the seemingly uncountable value of preserving wild spaces and pristine natural resources.

The lyrical phrases of John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and David Brower never came with dollar signs attached. They couldn't. In bill and coin, nobody in those days could say what wilderness was worth. Now we can. Studies of rivers and lakes reveal that healthy watersheds provide millions of dollars' worth of water filtration, just one of many such natural services critical for healthy communities. Researchers digging into the economy of the West are finding that forests often have a higher cash value standing than they have as cut timber. Small towns born as logging outposts now thrive as recreation gateways.

This new economic paradigm couldn't arrive at a more crucial time. The failure of environmentalists to sell their agenda to voters has run headlong into an administration that's put energy development at the top of its list and is making it easier than ever to siphon private resources from public land. While mainstream media have focused on hot spots like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bush administration officials have quietly opened millions of acres of wilderness-quality land in the lower 48 to developers. Much of the 58.5 million acres of roadless national forest preserved by the Clinton administration will soon lose its protection. In Wyoming, ranchers who've wisely tended their land for generations are watching energy companies ruin their soil and water in a natural-gas free-for-all. In Utah and Colorado, nearly 150,000 acres of wildland—including previously protected sections of Desolation Canyon, as well as spectacular tracts of Sagebrush Pillows and the Dolores River Canyon—have been leased for drilling in the past 14 months. Tens of thousands more will likely follow.

President George W. Bush and his supporters defend these actions in the name of energy security and jobs. But set against the West's new economic reality—a long-term shift away from extractive industries and toward recreation, tourism, the service sector, and information technology—the aggressive drive to cut and drill without factoring in long-term effects on the value of public wildland isn't just environmentally unfriendly; it's economically unsound. Converting the natural wealth contained in the nation's pristine forests, deserts, canyons, and mesas into a one-time hit of corporate profit is a swindle of the first order, one that should outrage anyone, Republican or Democrat, who favors combining sound business practices with smart environmental stewardship.

Fortunately, the new way of thinking, if embraced by both sides, could lead to an era of compromise, in which decisions about extraction and preservation are based on assessments of long-term value, and of how that value might or might not be sacrificed for short-term gains.

If that happens, we'll owe thanks to people like John Loomis, 52, an economics professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and one of the pioneer thinkers in wilderness valuation. Loomis has written dozens of papers showing that mining, logging, drilling, and grazing are rarely the most economically beneficial uses of public land. His personal revelation came 28 years ago, in 1977, shortly after the young Cal State Northridge graduate took a job with the federal government's Bureau of Land Management, which put him to work in the slickrock canyons around Moab.

"My second week on the job," Loomis recalls, "the Forest Service held a public hearing. About three-quarters of the people there said they didn't want any wilderness in Utah, period. And I thought, Now wait a minute. Surely there's some economic value in wilderness." Along with a handful of like-minded colleagues scattered around the West, Loomis would spend the next quarter-century proving that there is.

read more digg story

A chain letter from

Franu. Now I understand why I've stopped smiling!

None of that Sissy Crap

Are you tired of those sissy "friendship" poems that always sound good, but never actually come close to reality? Well, here is a series of promises that actually speak of true friendship. You will see no cutesy little smiley faces here. Just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.

1. When you are sad -- I will help you get drunk and plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

2. When you are blue -- I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile -- I will know you finally got laid.

4. When you are scared -- I will rag on you about it every chance I get.

5. When you are worried -- I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining.

6. When you are confused -- I will use little words.

7. When you are sick -- Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall -- I will point and laugh at your clumsy ass.

Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth.

26 March 2007

What I did this weekend

WW and I went to The Slideluck Potshow on Saturday night. It was pretty cool, and if you know any photographers, encourage them to submit work for this show. I wish I was good enough to qualify.

On Sunday, WW and I decided to venture from familiar grounds and head to The Met. The museum is so huge that we were lost almost immediately after leaving the main lobby area. We eventually made it to the Louis Comfort Tiffany and Laurelton Hall—An Artist’s Country Estate special exhibit. It was pretty cool to see how the inspiration for much of Tiffany's work came from Native American, Japanese, Chinese and Indian cultures (who knew?).

It was really good to spend time with WW. We haven't hung out like that in ages.

22 March 2007

I can't wait for this guy to be voted off

I watch American Idol. I could blame it on B and say that I only watch because she does. She follows the show avidly and votes. But, it'd be a lie. I watch the show because I like it. Yes, I do.

I've been waiting for Sanjaya to be voted off all season, and it' s just not happening. I can't figure out how he's managed to stay on for so long. I wasn't going to write about it except for that little girl that broke down and cried while he sang on Tusday night. Was she crying because he was so bad, or crying because she was happy to be so close to him? The latter scares me. Sanjaya's caterpillar eyebrows scare me.

Dinner at Buddha Bar with G

Dinner with G at Buddha Bar last night. Food was good. I even like the decor -- Buddhas everywhere -- could have been in Thailand. Could do without the pretentiousness though.

I wouldn't be surprised if in 15 years time, G's got a house with a yard, a dog, kids and a lovely wife. The ones that are always the most gung-ho about being a player are always the ones that the best once they settle down.

After seeing it on the Colbert Report

I really want to read this book. It sounds good. From the same guy that wrote Jihad vs. McWorld: Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole.

21 March 2007

Happy Spring!

Today is the first day of spring, and it even feels like it. The air's crisp and there's still a hint of chill in the air, but the sun managed to come out a play for a while.

I had to go to the eye doctor today. He basically called me an idiot using slighly more polite words. Well, first, he asked me how old I was, and when I told him, he told me I should know better. Then he called me an idiot. I like the guy. Might make him my real eye doctor...

See, I accidentally put a torn contact in my eye last night. When I tried to take it out, a piece of it stayed behind and slipped to the top left corner of my eye where my finger can't reach. I thought it'd eventually fall out, so I put a new contact in and forgot about it. Even went to sleep with the torn piece still in my eye. When it hadn't fallen out by this afternoon, I put in a call to the opthmologist to see if there was a way for me to hurry the process. Didn't think it was a big deal, but they tell me that when that happens, it's very bad. Now I know, and so do you.

09 March 2007

Eat Mor Chikin

Apparently cows do want to eat more chicken.

When dozens of chickens went missing from a remote West Bengal village, everyone blamed the neighborhood dogs.

But Ajit Ghosh, the owner of the missing chickens, eventually solved the puzzle when he caught his cow -- a sacred animal for the Hindu family -- gobbling up several of them at night...

..."Instead of the dogs, we watched in horror as the calf, whom we had fondly named Lal, sneak to the coop and grab the little ones with the precision of a jungle cat," Gour Ghosh, his brother, said...

I guess the Chick-Fil-A cows weren't lying when they told us to "eat mor chikin" instead of burgers. (I love Chick-Fil-A. It's a southern thang.) In light of the chikin eatin' cow in India, I'd say the gospel has spread. Watch out, chickens!












08 March 2007

myspacebarisbroken

A few weeks ago, B's brother IMed her a cryptic word: myspacebarisbroken.

For the life of us, B and I couldn't figure out why her brother sent her a message about a guy named Boris.

Until we realized his space bar was broken.

04 March 2007

Month End

I saw this in the New Yorker a week or two ago, and it reminded me of work:

What I'd like to read

as soon as I get the chance.
The Old Way: A Story of the First People by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. This book sounds amazing, and I can't wait to read about it.

Brief Encounters with Che Guevara by Ben Fountain. A collection of short stories.

I'm adding then to my ever growing list of books I'd like to read.

About two months ago, I finished this book. Mostly in the entire day's flying it took to get to Montana and the entire day's flying it took to get back from Montana. I rarely have the luxury of two whole days worth of reading, so it can take me a while to finish a book. Especially when it's dry. In this instance, it took me a year to finally finish it -- and it didn't get interesting until the last 200 pages (400 pages in) which covered the period prior to and during the American Revolution. I forgot how nice it was to just sit and read and not always be on the go.

I'm now reading this book. Since the subject matter is a little dense, I'm also reading this book to lighten things up. Needless to say, the latter is more fun to read so I'm much further along; at the rate I'm moving along, it'll probably take me several years to finish reading the former. After which, I'd like to tackle The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkin. Then, I might go back and reread The Closing of the American Mind by Allan Bloom because it's been a while since I've read it, and I'm a different (but same) person now. But, that's years away in terms of how quickly I read, so let's be realistic here. I'll let you know when/if it actually happens.

Carsten Peter

creates the most amazing photographs, and almost always in the most extreme circumstances.

In an interview with National Geographic, he said, "If I'm in nature, I'm fine. It can be the hottest desert or the rainforest with the most stinging little insects. If you live with nomads, you realize how little you need in life. You sleep on the desert floor and you are happy, looking at the stars and walking. You don't need much, in fact."

Amen.

For more of Carsten Peter's amazing photography: http://www.carstenpeter.com/de/galerie.html

Random things I've been meaning to tell you about

but haven't found the chance until now.

Sorry I haven't been updating my blog on a regular basis. First, there was year end, which meant work was ridiculously busy. Then there was Charlotte, NC which was quite nice. Both of which were followed by Big Sky, Montana, where I learned to snowboard and met the cutest snowboard boy who for some strange reason wouldn't talk to me. And then, there was this phenomenom called month end, which is just another four letter word for a busy period at work. Oh, there was Bonaire, which completely crept up on me. In between month ends, I've also been working on several marketing and efficiency iniatives at work. This weekend was supposed to have been spent in Vermont, but that got called off at the last minute. While I'm sad that I'm not snowboarding Killington since I heard it scored 17 inches of snow on Friday, it works out well. I'm home with an ear infection, I've entirely lost my voice, and I've wanted to update my blog for some time and have been storing some things to share.

None of what I've mentioned above are valid excuses for my gross negligence when it comes to this blog -- in reality, I'm just a lazy bastard that's opted for sleep over posting pictures and entries -- but at least now you have a 5 seconds or less description of what I've been up to lately. Pictures and stories of Charlotte, Montana and Bonaire to follow -- some have already been posted but they're backdated, so you'll have to look in 2006 -- as soon as I can get my act together. In the meantime, here are some cool things for you to check out:

The Buggy Rollin' Suit -- Full body in-line skating suits at around $3,800 each. These contraptions allow the wearer to move at speeds up to 60mph while in any position imaginable. Yes, I said imaginable. Check out the official website and the video:




The Airscooter II - a $50,000 personal helicopter that doesn't require a pilot's license and is almost as easy to operate as a sitdown lawnmower. Two-seater models will be rolled out soon. Pretty cool, huh? Except for the price tag, that is. Here's a crappy quality video of it in action:




The HAL-5 trousers - Called a Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL), this is an exoskeleton that applies electrodes to the wearer's nerves to provide superhuman strength. It was designed to make the world a better place . You know, search and rescue missions, heavy physical labor, yada yada, but come on. Everyone knows that this suit is just itching to fall in the clutches of some super hero villain. Spidey and Batman had better watch out!