Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama Will Reverse Bush Actions on Env. & Soc. Issues

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse the president on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Demo...

read more | digg story

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This space for rent

I'm planning on throwing up my personal views on the election before Nov. 4th, primarily about why I support Barack Obama for President, and where I think the Republican's will go from what is shaping up to be a rebuking defeat. Unfortunately, I've got a ton on my plate from now until Nov. 4th, but I'll try my best to throw it up.

Until then, I'll just leave you with the latest projection from

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Caught red handed.

Sure he thinks it's so funny when he is only talking to a camcorder. But as soon as a CBS camera caught him the story changes...

Watch CBS Videos Online

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The signs were there

We just decided to ignore them.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Big day for Obama

I've been following my new favorite political site: for a couple of months now, and today Obama hit a new high water mark.

How the site works is they provide a statistical analysis based off the latest political polls. Its a pretty fascinating how they break it down, but their model is conservative to provide a better gauge of how the race is going. With a month to go, McCain is starting to get quite the mountain to climb. A major shake-up is needed if this current trend, but with how wild this race has been, there are plenty of turns left.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

All 50 States of the Union, Voter Registration Information

This is information that needs to be shared and easily accessible for all. Forward it on to anyone that needs it or is in a position to help others with it.Register to Vote!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Office, Palin Hired Friends and Hit Critics

An examination of Gov. Sarah Palin’s record finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.

THIS is the kind of information I've been waiting to see who Palin really is and how she governs. The high drama elements of the teenage pregnancy, recent new born, "are her critics being sexist?", "is the media out to destroy her?" all have been in the spotlight ever since McCain announced her as his running mate; but this is the real meat and potatoes. The biggest problem with Palin was the vacuum of information that existed during, and more pronouncedly, after her addition to the ticket. The McCain campaign had a great "story" with Palin. It's easy to fall in love with, and they were very deliberate on how this story would shape out. Controlling the message and access to Palin allowed the McCain campaign get their VP candidate Palin out there, before folks had the chance to get to know Gov. Palin, and Mayor Palin.

This is a critical election, I feel that more rests on this election than most realize. The country at large is veering towards the edge of a very large cliff, with financial sector meltdowns on one side and global economic and energy concerns on the other. The next president will face a monumental daunting task when they enter the office. Rebuilding the economy, and restoring the American dream. Resuming our rightful place as steward of liberty and freedom, instead of showing others how to subdue and subvert it. Taking up the charge to address global climate change, because regardless of if you still deny the cause, it's the right thing to do and the time to do it is now. The Supreme Court, questions about the legality of actions taken during the Bush administration, and many more all hing on the outcome of this election.

We don't have the luxury of making decisions because a candidate is someone you would like to hang out with, or you feel "is just like us". A lot of hard choices lay ahead of this country, and in electing a leader we need to ask who will lead us forward, and who will drag us down. This article to me paints a much more believable picture of why McCain's campaign would select Palin, as an agent of change only skin deep, and a new lease on the past 8 years.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Large Hadron Collider: Countdown

On September 10, 2008, the world's biggest science experiment is set to come online. Here's how it will search for the Higgs boson, dark matter and supersymmetry...Tomorrow will be a pretty darn cool day in my book. I'm an avid fan of scientific progress, and while I don't pretend to be too knowledgeable about string theory and particle physics, I do know this will expand our knowledge of the universe.

read more | digg story

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Jon Stewart Annihilates Sarah Palin's Media Surrogates

Jon Stewart at his absolute best running circles around cable news douchebags.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mt. Mitchell (..or how we spent our Labor Day weekend)

We started our trek out to the mountains for some fresh air and the chance to drop off the grid. We sure did pick an interesting time to do so, the announcement of John McCain's VP gave Mel and I plenty to speculate about for the entire weekend.

I should also say that iPhone + streaming Internet audio = one killer road trip combo. We were able to listen in to one of our favorite shows as it was playing in Seattle for nearly the entire trip. Kiera was just happy to be along for the ride. The camping trip had been Melanie's idea after I had been recanting fondly over my youth in Montana, and all the trouble my friends and I got into on our camping trips.

This was also a chance to test our new tent, which we had given to each other as our birthday gift this year. We had quite a bit of hassle getting our hands on the actual tent (had to go through three different vendors before it actually showed up on our doorstep, thanks MooseJaw!) But we couldn't have been happier with it, plus Mel landed a killer deal on it as well.

After staking out camp, I went out exploring while Melanie caught a quick nap. My short exploratory hike turned into a three mile mini-adventure. Lucky for me I had Keira with me. Part of the the adventure was I stumbled across the main trail we were planning on hiking up the next day. One of the reasons we picked Mt. Mitchell was due to the fact it is the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Since airfare was preventing our annual trip back west, we felt climbing up to a similar elevation would have to suffice. After I got back from my little walk about, we struck up the fire and cooked dinner and of course, smores!

The plan was to get an early start to the day, but it was a bit trickier to roll out of bed when things are so damn comfy. Eventually the demands of the day got us up and geared up for the challenge. By 10 AM, we headed for the trail head, ready for what awaited us. The hike was beautify, grueling, sweaty, and a ton of fun. It took about four hours and twenty minutes for us to climb 5.5 miles and close to 4000 vertical feet. The terrain was mixed from standard wooded paths, to tighter trails, and eventually rocky climbs near the summit.

Once we reached the top, it was time to take in the views and break for lunch. There was an observation tower being built at the top, but it was closed while construction was still on going. The climb down was easier, but not by much. Our decent took about 3.5 hours. All three of us, Melanie, Keira, and I, were exhausted by the time we reached camp again. The entire trip had taken just over eight hours, but despite muscle fatigue and a very very tired dog, its something I know we both would jump at to do again. Next time may be just a little less ambitious.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm on Qik

Found a great new toy for my iPhone, it's called Qik. Qik basically allows me to stream live video to the web via my phone. I'll put up some more info about it later, but here is my first successful vid:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash

David Campbell is bringing Florida’s mandate to teach evolution to many students raised to take the biblical creation story as fact.

read more | digg story

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic nights

Don't know about everyone else, but so far I've thoroughly enjoyed the Olympic Games so far. Unfortunately, my enjoyment has come at the price of getting to bed on time, since they have kept me up constantly past midnight. On the positive side, most nights have been rewarding by yielding some of the best moments so far. It also dawned on me that this year's Olympics really benefit the West coast due to the time delay. Most people I've talked to have not stayed up to watch the later events. I blame this on two major things, the obvious is how late they run, but the other is a little less obvious. So far each night has started with sports that are not exactly high on folk's excitement meter. I mean, synchronized diving is very impressive, but I personally don't know enough to get along with out the commentator's guiding hand. Which, when you think about it, kind of defeats the purpose and decreases the awe. If I was to watch a home run, and have it slowed down so I could see how it went down every time, the spectacle of watching it happen in real time would be slightly dimmed. Which is too bad, but once you make it past those pitfalls, the rewards have been plentiful. Michale Phelps' race for Olympic immortality has yet to disappoint. The 4x100m relay was one of the most exciting sporting events I've witnessed, it was simply that good!
As much fun as I've had watching the games, there have been points that still hang over the entire spectacle like a dark cloud. I always had reservations about China hosting the Olympics, and while some of those fears may have been unfounded, there are have been others that struck true. The opening ceremony was a sight to behold, but elements have been leaking out that put a definite tarnish on. I can understand using a lip-synch for part of the show, I didn't agree with it, but from a stage presentation point of view I can see how the call was made. But, trying to gloss over a major accident that left a dancer possibly paralyzed for the rest of her life, and digitally enhancing the fireworks, that's just poor form. There are a few things that also have gotten under my skin (The Chineese "women's" gymnastic team for one) but all and all, I've been having a good time.

I'll be the first to admit, with the way the rest of the world has been acting the past couple days, any distraction, tainted or not, is welcome. Even if it only lasts a few short weeks.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Study shows clearly: Media has been harder on Obama

Research from George Mason University's Center for Media and Public Affairs shows clear evidence that TV news has been mostly negative toward Obama, and more negative than toward McCain. That's right. The "love affair" of the media is NOT with Barack Obama. And McCain's followers can't see straight.

read more | digg story

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch - 1960-2008

"But we don't beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well," said Dr. Pausch

Incredible human being, if you have the time, please watch his "Last Lecture"

Saturday, July 12, 2008

IPhone 2.0 impressions so far

So I've had some time to play with all the new apps that are now available thanks to iTunes 7.7 and the iPhone 2.0 software. Yesterday was hardly the smooth transaction that Apple and AT&T may have planned for the iPhone 3G launch, it was pretty close to a catastrophe. Even iPhone owners like me, who had not gone out to buy the newest phone, got nailed when Apple's activation servers crashed and left everyone out in the cold. About 4pm EST they were finally able to get the servers back up, after being down since sometime between 8 and 9am. But that is all behind me now, I wanted to go over some of my impressions of some of the applications I picked out to install on my original iPhone.

I'll start out with the App Store itself. I had jailbroken my iPhone before the release of the 2.0 software. This had given my insight to how an installer program could work on the iPhone. For all intents and purposes, the jailbroken Installer App did its job, but it was often difficult to try and find new and useful applications. Most of it was trial an error, with no rating or feedback available on the phone. I'm sure all of this was available on the web, but I never went that far to look up apps online, I just installed them and tried them out. This resulted in a lot more misses than hits. Out of all the apps I installed from the jailbreak installer app, most were uninstalled. Only a handful became useful to me, those being the e-book reader, springboard (theme application for the iPhone), and Twinkle (twitter client). I'll return on those three a bit later. In comparison, Apple's App Store is wonderfully laid out. It's easy to find what is available, and even easier to get a general impression of what to expect from the app description and product review, all available both on iTunes and the iPhone itself. Right off the bat, Apple got it right with App Store. 5/5

Now onto the applications themselves. As I said before, I had experience with 3rd party applications on my phone prior to the 2.0 update, but most were not that useful to me. Even out of the few I liked, I only really miss Twinkle, which was the only reason to jailbreak your phone for me. This time its a whole new ball park, I have already found several apps that I love. Some have a lot of potential, they just need some work. Also, with the reviews and description page from the App store, I've been able to avoid the stinkers this time.

First app I played around with was the eReader. Its set up for digital books, and has a nice streamlined interface. Not too many bells or whistles, but it doesn't need that. I like this app, it is an improvement over the reader that was available from jailbreak. General impression is high, don't know if I will use this app too much, but I'm pretty sure I would enjoy it if I did. Don't look for this to knock off the Kindle or Sony's e-book, but I can see storing works you really enjoy on it to peruse at one's leisure. I'd give it 4/5

Mark this one on your calendars, it may be the true nail in terrestrial radio's coffin. Pandora has the potential to be one of the killer apps for the iPhone. I was blown away by it. How it works is you are able to customize a stream of music down to something as narrow as a single song. How it works is Pandora will look at it's analysis of that song, group, or genera to identify specific traits. Love Bitter Sweet Symphony? You can create a station, and Pandora will stream music that also has vocal harmony, vamping, and other traits similar to the song. Its an excellent tool to expand the breadth of your musical knowledge. The website has been around for awhile, but expanding the network to your pocket is what is key here. The whole concept is to create personal music stations tailored around your interest, not a demographic. You are also able to bookmark songs that cause you to rise up and take notice, for either investigation or purchase later. The other thing that really impressed me was the Edge network was able to handle the stream when I was outside of a wifi hot spot. So this is a toy that all iPhone owners get to take out and play with. Not only does this put final notice to radio companies, but the recording industry should pay attention too. This is how new media will work, the individual will go out and find what they like, not what they are told to like. This app is the most exciting of all I've played with so far, it may even prove to be a reason to go out and purchase an iPhone if you've been holding back. 5/5

This one is for the science geek in me. Its and interesting app to allow you to look at the 3-D structure of proteins. Hard to describe the functionality of it all, but you are able to download other 3-D models from a website. I'm not sure its something that will have any true impact beyond just playing with the models. I can't see a chemist or research scientist breaking out their iPhone to look for the active sites of a protein group, there is much more advanced software for that. 3/5

Shazam is a very interesting idea that could be golden, but it will all depend on the execution. The app is designed to record a sample of a song via the iPhone and send it back for analysis. The purpose is to identify the song and report back to you what it is. The need for this is obvious, from TV commercials to radio broadcast cut short, we've all heard songs we love, but never find out more about them. They just linger as haunting melodies that quietly fade from memory. With Shazam, the chance to capture those tunes becomes possible. The tricky part is how accurate the application is going to be when reporting back. You are only able to capture several seconds of audio (8-15 seconds max). I also see this as only being a one shot, two a the max, deal. The time it takes to break out your iPhone, fire up Shazam and get the sample you need may be pushing it for a commercial or TV broadcast of a song you want. Once its captured, you also have to wait for the results to comeback. If your sample wasn't good enough you may not have enough time to catch another. The software also relies more on instruments versus vocals. That's probably something that will require a bit of adjustment on the users end, as most people will try to capture the chorus over the instruments. Again, we have an app with huge potential here, I just need to take it out and field test it a bit before I can comeback and give a final recommendation. 3/5

Twitterrific is one of three twitter clients I saw. I selected the free add-supported twitterrific. It presents a nice clean interface which made general sense in its navigation. A hint screen is enabled to help you discover the tricks and functionality, which can be turned off once you get the hang of things. They have the ability to geo-tag your tweets so those following you are able to see where you are, but this is something that needs to be done with each post. Pictures are also possible to attach to your tweets via twitterrrific. The free version that I selected (over paying $10 for add free) inserts adds interstitially amongst your tweets. For now, this doesn't seem to obtrusive, but my twitter isn't the most active of feeds so it may be based off the amount of traffic that goes by, hard to tell. The only thing I can fault with Twitterrific is that I have been using a much better client, Twinkle, for awhile now. There are similarites between the two, but what I love about twinkle is that is pulls from others posting in a defined radius and posts them in a separate channel. It does a wonderful job of creating a community feel. If you have a rant or rave about a new restaurant, someone in New York isn't going to care about it unless it is in New York. Unfortunately, Twinkle didn't get the magic blessing of being included in the first round of releases. I don't know if that was because it wasn't ready yet, or if they we passed by Apple for inclusion in the initial release. Looking at some of the crappy apps that did make the cut, I find it hard to believe Twinkle wasn't included if it was ready, which leads me to believe they are either finishing it up, or waiting for Apple's blessing. I'll keep using twitterrific until one of two things happen, Twinkle shows up in the app store, or I can jailbreak 2.0. 3/5

Hmm, I've got several more apps to review, but I think I'm going to put that up later, I don't want a monster of a post here. I will tie this up with my impression so far and that is I LOVE the new 2.0 version of my phone. The software is the unsung hero for the newest iPhone, sure 3G grabs the spotlight, but its the applications that is going to make this version sing. The newest iPhone 3G owners can be happy with their upgrades to the beemer class of the iPhone world, but for me, I'm more than happy with the move from the civic to the accord thanks to the new software. I feel that is a good comparison for the two, the 3G definitely has the status symbol attached with it was well as some performance elements that it can hold over the original iPhone. But just like a 3 series compared to an Accord, they are both very nice cars, which have similar performance overall, with the 3 series BMW edging out the Accord. I'm happy with near BMW performance with a slightly lower price. Check back later when I plan on giving my impression of the New York Times app, the Remote control for iTunes, Weather bug and several others. Until then.

Friday, July 11, 2008

iPhone crush

Well, I'm passing on the 3G phone that came out today. Not because I think anything is wrong with the phone itself, I think its quite brilliant, but mainly due to the pricing plan AT&T has rolled out for it. Essentially, to keep everything as is, my payment would increase $15 a month. When you take into account the $200 discount I got from my original iPhone (thanks Apple and Amex!) the incentive to start to pay more for the new phone diminishes. I'll run down the primary benefits of picking up the new phone today, v.s. keeping my old one.

With the iPhone 3G, you get 3 main things, 1) 3G networking 2) GPS and 3) new firmware and access to all the shiny new applications you can download. Starting from the rear, the new firmware is available to original iPhones, so the benefit is shared by both. GPS, while it is going to be incredibly nice, it has already been found to be a location identifier, not something that is going to replace the GPS unit in your car. It has the potential to be very useful, but its a tough call if the $160 more the iPhone 3G will cost over time wouldn't be better spent on an actual GPS unit. Leading to the paramount benefit of going for the 3G, faster downloads. This was a tough call for me, I'd love the faster data transfer because that is the probably tied with phone calls for the number one thing I do with my iPhone. Ultimately, what tipped the boat for me was battery life. My current phone has an excellent battery life, when I first got it I was able to load it up with movies and watch them all on a transcontinental flight. Due to its age, the battery can't do that now, but its still impressive. Since 3G is an energy hog, I think the battery would become the biggest issue for me down the road. Sure, those blazing fast downloads will be fantastic for the first 6 months or so, but once that battery gets some age on it, the energy consumption of 3G will become more apparent. Looking at how I use my iPhone, I need it to last 11-13 hours of on and off use for my work day. Currently, I don't have any problems with that, but I do know in 3-4 months I'll probably have to look into getting a new battery. Since I generally hold onto my phones for a long time (I've only owned 3 over 10 years)I know that the 3G iPhone will not age as gracefully as the original. For a lot of people, the 3G and GPS will be worth it, and for me it is a close call, but the increase cost for ownership is just too much.

So, I've decided to stick with my original, its treated me fantastic for the past year, and I know I'll hold on to it for at least another year. When the third generation of iPhones roll out sometime in the future, I have confidence the battery issue will be resolved, and it will most likely balance on price and cost of ownership for me. Unfortunately, due to the crush of activation requests, my newly adopted 2.0 firmware on my iPhone can not be activated. Despite all my effort to stay outside the fray, I've been dragged into it. Now all I can hope for is that I can get my phone back up and opperational sometime tonight.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

AccountabilityNowPAC | Strangebedfellows

Let's remove from power the key enablers of the tyrannical and lawless FISA 'compromise;' we can end the Patriot Act—and so much more. Join with us by pledging now—right here at Become a part of our transpartisan alliance of freedom lovers! Be a Strangebedfellow!

I'm still fuming about the FISA bill passing the Senate today. Allowing the bill to pass with retroactive immunity is shameful and an affront to every American's right. Due to this action, the telecom's, Congress, and the Whitehouse will all get away with tearing the 4th Amendment right out of the Constitution.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Still not sure how to explain this one to future generations... so much for land of the "Free".

read more | digg story

FISA - Where does your Senator stand on retroactive immunity

With the FISA amendments coming up for a vote, find out where your Senator currently stands on retroactive immunity. Don't like where they are at? Give them a call and let them know it.

update - 7/10/08
With the passing of this bill, here is the final vote count.
Grouped By Vote Position

YEAs ---69
Alexander (R-TN)
Allard (R-CO)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Inouye (D-HI)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Obama (D-IL)
Pryor (D-AR)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Salazar (D-CO)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)
Webb (D-VA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wicker (R-MS)

NAYs ---28
Akaka (D-HI)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Clinton (D-NY)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Wyden (D-OR)

Not Voting - 3
Kennedy (D-MA)
McCain (R-AZ)
Sessions (R-AL)

Here is a link for the house members who voted (listing all 422 would take too much space)

Take a close look at your Senator and Representative in the House, which side of the line did they stand on; with illegal wiretaps, or with the 4th Amendment of the Constitution?

read more | digg story

The Constitution Dies Today

Over 200 years ago, we enshrined the rule of law as the only monarch in America. Today, the Senate will likely vote to shred that precedent. Democrats, "compromising" with Republicans, will act together, in a bipartisan fashion, to destroy your right to be free from search without a warrant.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Feeling somber...

After taking some time to review the blog from my previous post, there are times when the world can slow down and regain focus on issues that just should not be forgotten.

I'd rather not put up a morose post right before I head to bed, but I really do want people to snap out of it and pay attention. We've got a monumental opportunity to instigate change this upcoming November, and the responsibility should not be taken lightly. I've picked my candidate out, but that's not what this is about. More things are riding on the line this next election that should transcend the usual political dribble that is fed to the public. It is up to the public to get out there and research the positions themselves. Don't rely on what is being drilled into your head by endless campaign adds. Take a stand and, gasp, read up on the current debate about issues that you feel are relevant to the world you want to live in and the country you'd like to see the US become. If anything else, just don't be a single issue voter. If we as the public treat elections as one-dimensional, that's what we are going to get in return, a shallow system that will look to pull a fast one when it can, because honestly, people are barely paying attention anyways.

Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan right now are standing up to answer the call of duty that was put out in front of them. Its a job, and they signed up to do it. At least give them the honor of taking your civic duty seriously, and do some homework. If you have any excuse for why you don't spend the time doing that, just take a look at what each solider's day in Iraq has the potential of looking like at this blog (warning: graphic depictions of war are displayed in this post)

Suicide Bombing in Anbar - Eye Witness Account - Iraq War Photographer Diary - Graphic Images

For me, it provides for me a weight to balance what the true cost of this war is really like. I can't even imagine what life is like out there. But this blog posting brings into focus one of the many things that hang in the balance this upcoming November. You have the right to pick any candidate out there from Obama, McCain, Barr, Nader, or anyone else. Just be sure you have a researched list of reasons why, and I'm afraid historic landmarks just aren't enough this time. It is the very least you can do.

Military Kicks Out Blogger For Photographing Dead Marine

Zoriah Miller, a photojournalist and blogger embedded with U.S. Marines in Iraq, took pictures of a suicide attack’s grisly aftermath, including one of the fallen U.S soldiers. The U.S. military, however, was incensed at Miller’s portrayal of the horrors of war and immediately removed him from his Marine unit.

read more | digg story

Monday, June 30, 2008

He Took a Polaroid Every Day, Until the Day He Died

Yesterday I came across a slightly mysterious website — a collection of Polaroids, one per day, from March 31, 1979 through October 25, 1997. There’s no author listed, no contact info, and no other indication as to where these came from. So, naturally, I started looking through the photos. I was stunned by what I found...

read more | digg story

Bacteria evolve; Conservapedia demands recount

The folks behind Conservapedia have taken issue with the work behind a publication by a prominent evolutionary biologist and demanded he produce the data it's based on. Accidentally, they've created an enlightening demonstration of the challenges of providing the public with access to the scientific work their tax dollars have paid for.

read more | digg story

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hold the line on FISA? Is it already too late?

A constitutional attorney spells out the case why we missed the boat for 4th Amendment rights when the Patriot Act was passed. We very well may be arming the walls of the fort when it has all ready been sacked, raided, and the pillagers have moved on for awhile now.

read more | digg story

NIN Releases Album Download Numbers via Google Earth

Nine Inch Nails has released download data for their recent free album The Slip in a very unique way: A Google Earth KML file that maps exact download numbers according to geographic region.

Score another one for Trent & Co. I always liked NiN, I've only really been picking up my appreciation for the group the past couple of years to be a pretty big fan. But this, this is true trailblazing. You may not care for what kind of music they play, but you have to hand it to them, they are breaking new ground daily on how the artist and the fan base are able to interact together. Sure, their have been plenty of innovators in this space, but they have mainly been smaller groups and bands.

This is something that NiN didn't have to take on. Trent could have remained oblivious to the plight of the fans as they dealt with an out of control industry mad with power and out of touch (don't believe me, when was the last time Ford tried to modify your car to prevent you from driving somewhere they didn't want you*?) Trent had made it, he has more than enough money and fame to retire off in the sunset and show up on some "Where are they now?" special ten years down the road. What was going on was fundamentally wrong in his mind, and I happen to agree 100%.

A colossus group like NiN brings with it a global following, and creditability. When Radiohead released their "Rainbows" album under they pay what you like model, industry insiders were able to play devils advocate and blow it off as a stunt when they kept the numbers to themselves.As I said before, this is a trailblazing effort, and their are going to be mistakes and disappointments along the way. When Trent released "Niggy Tardust" by Saul Williams, they followed up later with the percent of people who paid $5, and those who downloaded it for free. With only around 18% paying for the album, the results were disappointing. But, what I would point out is that this is happened in a market, where people are of a certain mindset. The audience is pretty used to be taken advantage by the music industry, and I'm willing to bet, most snagged the free lunch and ran when they saw the chance. The audience it's self isn't familiar with the model that is being put forth. Eventually it will dawn on music fan's on what is really being offered here. Its not a pre-packaged one way ticket for a sterilized individual consumer experience. This is an offering for a collaboration between musician and fan. When it dawns on the audience that its no longer going to be static interaction, and they will need to carry some water for this to work, THEN we will be on the the planes of a new world. One where the dinosaurs of industry past will be left behind to die if they refuse to follow.

Rock on Trent, Rock on!

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* - Confused? Read up on the Sony Root kit scandal

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin has died

Legendary comedian George Carlin passed away Sunday night at the age of 71. He will be missed, but never forgotten.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt? 2008

Incredible video sequel to Where the Hell is Matt, as he dances around the world!These vids always make me smile. Really capture's the human spirit and how deep down we are really all connected. I dare you to watch this and not smile :D

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Two wheelin'

I finally got my bike back from the shop, it had a few things that needed to be taken care of. The biggest element was probably my chainring, which had worn down and needed to be replaced. I decided to go with an Ultegra chainring, since the rest of my components are Ultegra. I played around with getting the Dura Ace for about two seconds, but I personally wouldn't be able to take advantage of it, I'm nowhere near the point where I have to start worrying about shaving off some grams for better results. Ordering the ring put an extra day on the tune-up, but I can tell it was well worth it. Very nice, crisp shifts this morning. I still need to take care of two more things on my bike, but I think I will take care of those next month, if not a little later. The chain is ready to be replaced and when I do that, I think I will go ahead and get a new cassette. With a new chainring, the chain and cassette replacement will last me a very long time. I also had the headset cleaned out, and reset. All and all, the tune-up provided a very smooth ride in this morning.

Which brings me to my next goal, I'd like to bike into work more than I use my car. I already limit my car use on my days off, and driving to work consititues as the majority of my car use these days. Its about a seven mile bike to work from my house, and I've got a combo of bike lanes and a bike path to follow. The only dangerous part is the final .5 -> 1 mile of road to work. The bonus is that since I have to be on the road by 5:30am, the roads are relatively clear. I also miss the rush home, since I head out after 6:00pm. I'll try to keep everyone up to date on how this works out, but so far so good!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why You Should Download Firefox 3 Right Now

Firefox 3 — available for download at 10am PDT Tuesday — is the culmination of a two-year quest to build the best browser ever. And while it’s not perfect, it comes pretty close.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Put a Little Science in Your Life

Science is a language of hope and inspiration, providing discoveries that fire the imagination and instill a sense of connection to our lives and our world.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dunkin Donuts Pulls Rachael Ray Ad Because She Looked Arab

Observers, including ultra-conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin, were so incensed by the ad that there was talk of a boycott. Said the suits in a statement: ‘‘In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by her stylist. Absolutely no symbolism was intended."We are in the middle of two wars, the economy is heading for dark days, the housing market is seeing the worst downturn in decades, people are still not back on their feet after Katrina, we've got major global climate concerns, hundreds of thousands are suffering in Myanmar and China, and THIS is what some people get upset about. What a small pathetic little world you live in Ms. Malkin. Please stay there and don't coming knocking on our doors trying to peddle it. We've enough to deal with already with out people like you.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

About Monday.

As I posted back on Monday, things got very interesting. My day started off early as always, with me driving into work at 5:45 am. As I drove by the front parking lot, I noticed a local news van. That stuck me as odd, since there wasn't any reason I was aware of why they would be there (i.e. major new product or news release). But nothing stood out once I got inside and checked my email. But, apparently I missed the big news that had been sent out at 7pm Sunday night. We were about to get a big visitor that nobody expected.

That visitor was none other than Barack Obama. The primary vote for North Carolina would be held on Tuesday, and the Obama campaign had decided that they wanted to focus on Energy due to the recent calls for a gas tax holiday and the state of the economy. Cree's LED product looks to target the Energy Conservation market, by offering more energy efficient products that last longer and consume up to 80% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulbs. Obama's appearance at Cree was not anticipated by anyone, and it was a scramble to get everything in place. The second big buzz was that the event would be invite only and it would be limited to about 100 people. Everybody wanted to see who was able to go. I had hopes, but I knew my odds were not great. Cree has arround 1200 employees in NC, and so only 100-150 people being invited only gave me about a 10% chance. I got to work and tried to focus on what needed to get accomplished for the day. About 8 am is when my manager came down to tell me I had made the list, and would be invited to attend Barack's town hall meeting. I was stunned, but wanted to wait and see the actual invite before I got too excited. There had been so much confusion about what was going on that nobody was quite sure what was happening. At 10:00 am on the dot, I got my invite with instructions to head to security at 11:30 for a event that would begin at 12:00 and last till 2:00 pm. The email said that no photographs would be allowed, and to leave all electronic devices behind. Foolishly, I followed the instruction and left my iPhone behind, only to see a ton of blackberrys, cell phones, and cameras at the event; so no pictures for me.

I got to security at 11:30, and found a good seat to the right of the podium. We had to wait until 1pm for Barack to arrive, but the wait was well worth it. Senator Obama was introduced by one of the Fab managers (Fab - fabrication plant). The speech was about 20 minutes long and spent most of the focus on the economy, energy policy, and the gas tax holiday proposal. After a brief plug for Cree LED lights, he dove into audience questions. The first question was from a grassroots activist who was concerned about federal funding for environmental groups at the community level and inspiring a green economy. Taking a cue from Edward's proposal of driving a green economy by building a new class of workers, green collar jobs, which would be encouraged for empowering minority groups. The second question from a small energy conservation company that resided nearby Cree, and had been invited to attend. They were concerned with the federal tax credit aimed at inspiring energy efficiency. That was followed by a question of changing the focus from alternative energy to energy efficiency. I had formulated a question that I wanted to ask (I had a ton I wanted to ask, the hard part was picking the best). Unfortunately, the subject matter I was going to ask about got addressed by a question asking how to restore the US's stature in the world. I was most impressed with Obama's response to this question, in fact I lead the applause after he said he would close Guantanamo bay and restore habeas corpus. I had to reformulate my question since I didn't want to waste the opportunity to rehash covered ground, but the final question went to an undecided voter, which was appropriate. It's too bad I didn't get a chance to ask my question because I had planned to open with what a friend had told me to offer a bit of advice to Obama, "Stop being so nice." But from the looks of how things may turn out today and tomorrow, he may not have to worry about that anymore.

Over all I was thrilled to meet and shake the hand of the man I believe will become the next president. It really was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was not his most dynamic presentation, but it did impress a lot of folks there. I asked few co-workers who were able to attend what they though. "Surprised" was one answer, a republican co-worker liked his energy policy, but had too many moral disagreements with some of his policies to support him. As a final kick, I was interviewed by the BET political blogger after the town hall. Reporters were grabbing folks after the event for quick questions.

For those so inclined, here is footage of the event, I never made it on camera, but its about an hour long:

Monday, May 05, 2008

o.O My day may have just gotten interesting.

Just found out I may be participating on something very big today. I'll post an update as soon as I get verification.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

So it begins.

Yesterday, Melanie plotted out our training for our biggest triathlon challenge to date, our Olympic distance Triathlon in August. An Olympic, also known as an international, is about double the distance as the Sprint Triathlons we've been doing. A typical Sprint Tri is 750m swim (.5 mile), 20k bike (12.4 miles), and finishes with a 5k run (3.1 miles). There is some flexibility in the swim, as it can be as short at 500m. An Olympic distance is 1.5k swim (0.93 mile), 40k bike (24.8 miles) and a 10k run (6.2 miles). Even though this is a big step up for us, its still only about half way up the Triathlon ladder. The one everyone is familiar with is the Ironman, which is 140.6 miles long, which is also what is referenced if you ever see the white oval stickers on cars with 140.6. The next distance is the Half, which is exactly that, half the distance. After that is the Olympic, and finally the Sprint. There are several other types mixed in between, but those are the four main types.

The Olympic we are shooting for is about 14 weeks away, so we had to modify a 16 week training program to fit our needs. Thankfully, we've been training already since we had a Sprint Tri a few weeks ago, and our next Sprint is next Sunday. This should be interesting, and I'll do my best to update our progress (Mel is better about tracking her progress on her blog). Wish us luck!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Want to Remember Everything? Surrender to This Algorithm

Given the chance to observe our behaviors, computers can run simulations, modeling different versions of our path through the world. By tuning these models for top performance, computers will give us rules to live by.Its a bit long, but I highly recommend taking the time to read it. It kind of served as an partial epiphany for me, since I've been looking for something like this for awhile, only subconsciously. I plan on giving the program a try, and I'll report back on my findings.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

While Our Newsreaders Drooled Over Pictures Of Call Girls...

...the Bush Pentagon moved to suppress a study Bush doesn't like: The Pentagon on Wednesday canceled plans for broad public release of a study that found no pre-Iraq war link between late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the al Qaida terrorist network.Suppressing information it doesn't like is a hallmark of the Bush family. Suppressing information may help folks from looking at the 150 car pile up that they caused, but it does nothing to change the fact that they caused it. The US went to war in Iraq under false pretenses, moving the goal posts after the fact and even changing the game entirely. This isn't a grin and bear it type of situation, you have people who are still justifying the invasion of Iraq and the disposition of Sadam due to a threat that was never there. The rumors of WMD were spread by Sadam himself to scare off Iran from invading. We're living through some of the darkest days in American History and so many people refuse to acknowledge or admit it.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Reznor's one-week take for 'Ghosts': $1.6 million

A week after releasing his four-volume instrumental work “Ghosts I-IV” through his Web site, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor is reporting that he amassed more than $1.6 million in orders and downloads.Bought it, downloaded it, love it! This is how music distribution should be, only way Record companies are going to notice is when their bottom line is hurt. Writing has been on the wall for years now folks, and record companies don't get it. Won't be sorry to see them go.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Athletic Scholarships: Expectations Lose to Reality

All those weekends of traveling to games, spending extra for the camps, and cultivating a child's athletic prowess all pays off when they get that college scholarship right? Turns out most athletes and their parents are not prepared for the reality of college scholarships these days.

NY Times Article

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

NIN Confirms Uploads to Public and Private Torrent Sites

The acceptability of P2P took another big step forward over the weekend, as accounts claiming to be ‘the official profile for NIN’ appeared on a number of torrent sites, including The Pirate Bay and the private trackers and NIN has now confirmed that these accounts indeed belong to the band.And the great experiment continues. I have to give Trent & Company a lot of respect for bucking the trend and trailblazing for other artist just to show it can be done. I should point out that Radiohead is deserving of the same accolades for their Rainbows album. Small time and indie artist have had to rely on any way possible to get their music out there and heard, often having to stray from their original vision just to obtain success. Record companies have held all the power and artist have to work long and hard before they start to get any real control. By the time they reach this point, they have either 1) made enough money to fade away to obscurity if they wish or 2) have no desire to rock the boat that brought them to where they are. Trent is one that has made it to that upper level, and could have easily turned a blind eye to what the Record Companies were doing and cash his check. But Trent actually cares for his fans, and gets pissed of if they are being taken advantage of. Case in point, when touring in another country for one of NIN's recent albums, Trent stopped by a local record store. In that store he found the album selling for the equivalent of $20-25. Enraged, Trent asked why his fans were being charged so much to a record executive, to which he basically was told because we can. The executive went on to say that NiN was very popular in that country, and the fan's would pay a premium just to get a hold of the latest content. To be clear, this was not a special edition, or have additional content. This was the exact same disk that any US fan could find at their record company, but fans in this country had to pay close to double the cost. This was one of the many steps that lead Trent to break off his relationship with the Record Industry in its current form. To sum it up, Trent just gets it. By no means does he have it figured all out, but he has seen the writing on the wall. With a large percentage of today's teens abandoning CDs and physical media all together, a new market place has to be developed. Since the Recording Industry has already missed the boat on that one, someone has to take the time to figure it out. (Not only have they missed the boat, but they sent a battleship named the RIAA after it to sink and destroy it). Its going to take a lot of work and innovative ideas to set up this new digital market place. Concessions have to be made by both sides. DRM has to be removed, destroyed, and never looked at again. But by the same token, fans and individuals can no longer look at the internet as a candy shop built for free binges on all you can eat for free. Artists put a ton of hard work into what they put out there, and yes despite their best efforts, some of it is utter crap. But those who do put out quality work should be supported so that they can continue to do so. I've very excited by what Trent is doing here, and I think we are on the verge of a new relationship between fans and artists, and the death of the recording industry as we know it. And if they can't see the writing on the wall, they will be buried in the same casket that they built.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Best video explaining net neutrality ever

Individuals invented the internet yet now corporations claim they own own it - they claim it's their private property. If that's true then you don't have free speech online. I disagree - I think free speech in "free speech zones" isn't free: it's *dependent* on having a public place to be heard - meaning public property like the internet.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

New Nine Inch Nails record available for download RIGHT NOW!

NIN surprises us with an unexpected self-released album: almost 2 hours / 36 instrumental tracks described as "music for daydreams." Available as a $5 download, or a FREE album-length download, as well as a variety of physical configurations. The new business model done right?I can tell Niggy Tardust was a warm up, this one is swinging for the fences!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Coming to Arizona

The lucky sunny state of Arizona is about to become home to the world’s largest Solar Plant! Thanks to a just-announced contract between Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the enormous solar plant called Solana will power up to 70,000 homes, and will be the first example in the country of a major utility getting the majority of its energy from solar. The 1900 acre plant will be completed by 2011 – IF AND ONLY IF Congress renews the clean energy tax credit that’s set to expire at the end of 2008.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Toshiba pulling the plug on HD DVD already?

Japan's NHK has followed up The Hollywood Reporter's earlier indications Toshiba was ready to dump its money-losing HD DVD business, with news that the company is prepared to cease manufacturing software and hardware, at a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. This caps the worst week ever for red, when HD DVD was dumped by Netflix and Wal-mart.This kind of closes the book on my wading out in to the HD format war. I picked up one of the $100 HD DVD A2 players in November, and despite the over all outcome, I am pretty happy with it. Total amount invested - $140, which includes 4 HD DVD's that I picked up on Amazon's BOGO *Buy One Get One free) and a top notch up-scaler. I am disappointed, but I felt the writing was on the wall once Warner went Blu. My initial plan once that went down was to hold on to my DVD player, and pick up cheaper HD DVD's. A year or two down the road, I would picking up a dual format player and presto, I've already got a good start on my HD library and then I could start back up on my Blu catalog. Plus, since I would have time for the market to settle, prices on blu-ray disks should have dropped, and items that were brand new today, would have moved to the bargin bin. The biggest reason for the wait would be for blu-ray to sort out its formating problems. Regardless of which side you were rooting for, a big point in the HD DVD's camp was the format was settled and they were ready out of the gate. Blu-ray is still trying to work the kinks out, and only the latest generation blu-ray players can now present a polished presentation on the additional content that HD DVD has had for quite some time. But none of that matters now, and I have seemed to hit another stick in the mud with this latest development. With Toshiba pulling up stakes in this fashion, I don't think there will even be dual format players around. They may be here and there, but more than likely I would have to search out for a used model from this time frame. Alas, I took a risk and ended up with the short end. But, on the bright side, I have a player that presents a fantastic picture, I will be able to enjoy HD DVD movies from Netflix for a little while longer, and I will be able to smile just the smallest bit when I pick up a movie on HD for $10-12 while glancing at the exact same movie going for $35 as a blu-ray disk.

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Higher Christian Conservative power = higher interest rates?

Payday lenders, creditors that charge interest rates averaging about 450 percent, are more prevalent in Conservative Christian states, according to a new study coauthored by University of Utah law professor Christopher Peterson. The authors also indicated that this wasn't just a side effect of poorer populations who just happen to be Christian.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

15 hour days suck!

.... and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Bike

Well, Melanie and I are preparing for another round of Triathlons this summer, and it was time for me to upgrade my bike too. So here it is, my new bike.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

So, who are you pulling for?

With the political season all ready out of the gate and well on its way, whom do you support? Think you are for one candidate over the others? Melanie forwarded me this site which may help you pick out the one for you.

I would recommend that you try it out, and let it serve as a starting point. Once you have your list, go to the candidate's websites to see if they really are they one to pull for.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The RIAA speaks -- and it gets worse

The RIAA has quickly become one of the most disliked organizations in the world. And now, they'll be liked even less.Kids these days are not afraid of the boogie man under their beds anymore, they are afraid that its the RIAA sulking around down there. Haven't heard of the RIAA, well either you don't have kids, or you haven't ventured outside the gated iTunes community. I'll let the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) speak for themselves on that point. From their website:The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conducts consumer, industry and technical research; and monitors and reviews state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™, and Diamond sales awards, as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.On the surface, one could suppose that they are an honest and reasonable organization that serves as an industry umbrella over US recording artists music. What the fail to mention, that this is a group who views its customers as thieves that must be subjected to draconian laws and practices in order to prevent them from stealing the farm. They have been a driving force behind laws and industry practices that the average American would balk at. They have taken their business model of finding every advantage they can take to squeeze money out of the customer ($18-20 per CD??) and decided to cut straight to the chase. There used to be a time when buying an album provided you with an entire "album" of enjoyable music. But now you can only hope to get 1 or 2 songs for your hard earned money. They have found that just suing people has made up for the decline of CD sales by forcing them to settle for thousands. The RIAA has was also a driving force behind the worst law you've never really understood, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). I don't want to spend too much time going over what is wrong with this law, but it frames all customers a potential thieves and implements DRM (Digital Rights Management) to prevent the lost profit the industry would see once the customer acted on those nefarious tendencies, such as creating a back up of a CD or making a mixed CD from other CDs; truly evil, I know.So, as I said, the RIAA has been throwing its legal clout around anyone it can find, all the way from Internet service providers such as Verizon (they demanded customer names and logs of their activity online) to a Grandma whom they claimed was a notorious music pirate, sharing hundreds of music files online (the fact that she didn't even have a computer was merely a technicality). Through these actions, profits have been recovered from declining CD sales, and through litigation, the green line as turned around.Take some time to get their side of the story (they have decided college students and more so the Colleges and Universities they attend are the new cash cow), I promise you, you'll be surprise what you find out.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids: Scientific American

Hint: Don't tell your kids that they are. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on effort—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life.A fascinating article that sheds a light on a new perspective on development. I definitely saw elements in this article that were reflected in my own choices in school. By falling back on ability rather than effort, there were paths that I could have made easier for myself. Highly recommend taking time to read this article.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Belated New Years greeting

Hiyo everyone. Going to toss up a short and brief hello to everyone, hope all had a safe and entertaining New Years. Ours was benign, but that's ok, we had plenty of excitement from the past year to make up for one missed night. I know posting have been hit and miss, but things continue to be crazy for the two of us. I suspect you will see more activity on Mel's blog once we get back into the thick of triathlon season again (yep we are doing it again!). I'll do my best to keep putting out things that grab my interest that I want to share and occasional personal thoughts and feelings. Right now I wish I had time to comment on the political storm that is brewing out on the campaign trail, so I'll try to find a chance this weekend. I also seemed to pick the wrong end of the rope on the HD DVD v. Blu Ray format war, but I have an plan in mind to put a silver lining on that cloud. So until then, take care!

Ps - In the meantime check out :
Its a project that a relative of a WWI soldier is doing online, where they are posting letters the family received from the solider 90 years to date. Meaning they only publish a new post of the letters on the exact date the family received a new letter 90 years ago. The author hasn't disclosed the fate of the solider, so its a very vivid reminder that war is hell, back then and right now. It gives a small glimpse of what so many military families are going through.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Evolution: Read All About It!

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Institute of Medicine today released an 88-page booklet—-intended for wide dissemination—-that explains why evolution is science and creationism is not. An electronic version of the booklet is available here for free.

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