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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