Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why Cable News will Die

The point of cable news is to enable a viewer to turn on the telly any time of the day and, within 30 minutes, see most of the top stories. The fact that they must constantly replay eight minutes worth of real news every hour and fill in the rest of the time with blather is necessary due to the format.

But more and more Americans are realizing they can get that same convenience - without the blather - from the Internet. I predict that within 5 years, 24 hour news coverage will be dying off and the three network newscasts will be online, available on demand, and much higher quality - not to mention gathering in much higher ratings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Springsteen Points Out That Obama Was "Born To Run"

Bruce Springsteen endorses Obama, praising his vision of an America where "... nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone." What a great way to describe the fusion of responsible, competent government and self-reliant rugged individualism.

There has been far too much extremism in American politics in my lifetime. We're due for some sober moderation and wise compromise. I hope that sooner rather than later, those who are crowded get some space, and those who are alone get some help.

Obama '08.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What could possibly go wrong?

One of my favorite ways to burn a few minutes is to find an interesting tag on Slashdot and look at all of the posts thus tagged.

A funny one today:


China to Use Silver Iodide & Dry Ice to Control the Weather
'Friendly' Worms Could Spread Software Fixes
Laser Light Re-creates 'Black Holes' in the Lab
Large Hadron Collider Sparks 'Doomsday' Lawsuit
Artificial Intelligence at Human Level by 2029?
Doctors To Control Robot Surgeon With Their Eyes
One Computer to Rule Them All
US Plans "Disposable" Nuclear Batteries
Artificial Bases Added to DNA
A Virus that Attacks Brain Cancer
Customer Loses Xbox 360 Artwork During Repair
Anti-Missile Technology To Be Tested on Commercial Jets
Dutch Unveil Robot Gas Station Attendant
Vista Service Pack 1 Is Out
Researchers Develop Self-Cleaning Clothes
NASA Plans to Smash Spacecraft into the Moon
US To Shoot Down Dying Satellite
A Robotic Taxi Named robuCAB
New Lock Aims To End Chip Piracy
GM Says Driverless Cars Will Be Ready By 2018
Manmade Flood to Nourish Grand Canyon Ecosystem

My New Hobby: Chatting with Journalists

I've started reading the Corner, a conservative blog run by National Review online. A lot of what gets posted there is obnoxious, but usually two or three times a day I'll read a thoughtful post where I have a strong argument for a different opinion.

I'll shoot them an email, and once in a while they will write back.

The point is to engage the competition, not rant against them - and it has been both fun and informative to correspond with these folks. They are very smart - they just see the world differently from the way I do. But we do have some common ground.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So I was watching American Idol tonight, and one of the performers had a story about how he was a tennis coach before he got on Idol. Their was a 2 second clip of him watching this guy bounce a tennis ball and bat it away, after which the singer hands him another ball and utters "that's the swing of a champion".

It occurred to me that I barely noticed the guy with the racket, but he probably called and emailed like 200 of his friends and family to tell them he would be on American Idol tonight. Context is hilarious.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Well, I just glanced down from my HDTV to look at my laptop, and in the tray I saw that it was 12:03 2/27/2008.

It's my birthday, and I'm 27 today. My first thought in this year was

"2008. 2/27/2008. I am living in the future! Damn, I'm 27."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Education & Globalisation

The medium to long term effects of the global market are inevitable.

1) Over the next hundred years or so, America's manufacturing base will essentially disappear as maintaining our wealth and lifestyle will demand a complete shift to service based economies.

2) By 2300, if America still exists, it will be competing in those same service industries with virtually every other country on the planet. Today's Internet will seem a clunky toy in comparison with the Net of the 2300's, and at least 95% of global commerce will occur on it. Petabit home connections will be the norm in what are today's first world countries; even the poorest nations will have gigabit fiber optic connections. There will be approximately 1000 processors per human being in use on the planet at any given moment, and the single most important factor deciding which country will maintain a monopoly on power and wealth will be the education level of its citizens, as well as their adaptability to the technology curve.

It is imperative that we maintain the best education standards in the world for every single child in this country not only because compassion and civic duty compel us to, but because the long term interest of the country demands it. By this age I have no idea if America will remain in its current form - in fact I highly doubt it. If America's ideals, however, are to remain, it will only be because our nation led by example.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Complicated Law

So, according to this, John McCain took out a loan to run his campaign. The collateral on the loan was not money or equity, but something really really strange; the collateral on the loan was the public financing to which McCain is eligible for the general election. Which means that should he use some of the borrowed money, the lender expects to be repaid with public funds. In fact, read this:

"Additional Requirement. Borrower and lender agree that if Borrower [McCain's campaign commitee] withdraws from the public matching funds program, but John McCain then does not win the next primary or caucus in which he is active (which can be any primary or caucus held the same day) or does not place at least within 10 percentage points of the winner of that primary or caucus, Borrower will cause John McCain to remain an active political candidate and Borrower will, within thirty (3) days of said primary or caucus (i) reapply for public matching funds, (ii) grant to Lender, as additional collateral for the Loan, a first priority perfected security interest in and to all Borrower's right, title and interest in and to the public matching funds program, and (iii) execute and deliver to Lender such documents, instruments and agreements as Lender may require with respect to the foregoing."

Did you understand what it says? It says if he withdraws from the public financing program and uses the loan money instead and then loses the next primary/caucus, the Lender can force him to stay in the race and reapply for public funds in order to pay off the loan.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Remembrance of Things Past

I'm falling...

Heart-rate, GPS, and adrenal measurements all concur, and my son's life begins to flash before my eyes.

My death program is running, and the random number generator is feeling precocious as the pavement approaches.

First - it's William, asleep in his crib. He's two weeks old, and a tiny stuffed bear keeps guard over his slumbering girth. 10 lbs, 4 oz when they cut the cord. He's already at 12 lbs. My mother's side of the family. Each generation gets a strapping, brilliant young man and I hit the jackpot.

Second - his first step. His sister is crying in the background. The image is blocky and clearly an ancient digital encoding (the serial number on my first pair of ViewTacts was 000-0000-000000-0-000003), but I feel a grin twitch at the corners of my lips as the 38th floor rockets past. 8 months, 2 weeks - he beat my record!

Third - getting on the bus, on the first day of Kindergarten. I'm beginning to suspect my death program is not as random as advertised, but it's ok. I appreciate a narrative thread. I only hope I make it to the ground before I get to the inevitable ending.

Fourth - a Fencing meet. He's in high school now, driving his first car and moodily hating his life, in a good-natured sort of way. He shines on the mat. At nearly 6'6", his reach is a huge advantage - and his breezy, pinpoint skill with the epee has brought him to the championship match. I cheer him on, and the viewpoint shakes with nostalgic euphoria.

Fifth - College. It's moving too fast. I only just passed the 25th floor. It needs to skip back, or slow down. I must admit this was a great moment, though. The first time we shared a joint. I told him about marching in the streets after Bush declared martial law, and about the early, astonishing days of the first Obama presidency. He told me about the girl he loved, and the girl he'd taken to a clinic.

Sixth - Jennifer. The program is supposed to be about Will, but it has chosen to take a detour, and I feel a stalking apprehension fade for a moment as I savor. Aaron is in her arms, and my heart swells with regret as I realize I will not see him grow up. I had another 30, maybe 40 years left. I could have met my great grandchild. They're both so beautiful. She's strong, they'll survive. Sara will help them. Dear Sara...

Seventh - Fuck. The intervention. This is the second worst day of my life. I cringe as I watch Will's vitriolic tirade replay itself, scars settling deep into tissue in real time high definition. He says the thing, the thing that makes my eyes haze red, and I wince as my fist surges out and bruises his cheek. It's the first time in his life I've ever laid a hand on him in anger, and he stares at me in shock. He blinks twice, then stumbles backward into a chair; his eyes are like twin diamonds soaked in resentment.

Eighth - Reprieve. It's Will, age 10. We're in London, and he is taking everything in. His accent is perfect, his cheeks are rosy, and Sara is at the peak of her beauty. I wish that I had -