Friday, October 31, 2008


GM. Chrysler and the viability of the (indigenous) US auto industry in on my mind a lot. While product seems to have taken a back seat to management, here's a take on the upcoming Chevy Volt -the most hotly anticipated automobile to come from a domestic manufacturer in at least a generation- from a tech authority, Ars Technica. Of course, this sobering editorial in alt-news car site The Truth About Cars sums up what will probably happen to Chrysler (read: dead man walking) as the clock strikes twelve.

Shabbat Shalom.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Kath & Kim answers the burning question no one asked: What would happen if a vapid mother/daughter combo were fed a steady diet of junk TV and tabloid news. At least Molly Shannon, aka the female Will Ferrell gets facetime. I like her.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I'm not referring to the financial crisis, for which I am unqualified to comment and for which the sky may indeed be falling. I am referring to the election. Here are some of the cyclical comments I hear every four years:

  • This election really matters
  • The other guy will lead us on the roads to ruin for sure
  • That guy is a closet antisemite/muslim/socialist/hippie/elitist/liberal/oil sucking vampire
  • If that guy is voted in I'm definitely decamping to Canada/Europe/Israel
  • He's not experienced/too experienced
  • He's a hopeless outsider/insider
  • He's too young/old
  • He panders to the left/right/center/religious right/nutroots/netroots/loony left/Jews (always the Jews)
  • Twenty years ago he said that/did this/was seen talking to him/tied his shoelaces like that

My simple rules:

  • Vote your conscience.
  • Don't believe most of the dirt being dished -especially as we get down to the wire.
  • Politicians are by definition slippery
  • The world won't end on November 5th no matter who wins the election.
  • Once it's over, unite behind our elected leader.
  • Remember, it's always between a giant douchebag and a turd sandwich.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Does your national constitution determine what your space vehicles look like? Witness China's Shenzhou-7, resembling nothing as much as a flying pagoda. Looking back, Russia's spacecraft look blunt and workmanlike and America, Europe and Japan's always look shiny and new. Discuss.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


So I've been an avid keeper of ornamental goldfish for about eight years now and I've learned a lot about keeping the little critters alive and happy. To boil it down to two simple rules that should get you past the "they died after 1 week" stage of ownership:

  1. Get as much filtration as you can afford
  2. Pre-soak any dry food that can expand.

That's it! There's lots more, but those two pearls of wisdom should get you past  the weekly funerals at sea phase of fish ownership into the rewarding world of watching these beautiful creatures grow and respond to your presence.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Mozilla labs, those wild and crazy guys who brought you Firefox and Thunderbird, are working on a new breed of message reader. The prototype is called Snowl. Clearly, messaging from the consumption side is broken, When I need to fire up several different mail readers to see all my messages, as well as an IM client (thanks for at least aggregating all my online presences into one client, Pidgin) and a Twitter client (twhirl, if you must know) something is wrong. Not to mention my massive feed consumption, which I currently manage with Google Reader. Kudos for Mozilla for thinking about the idea. The last entity -OSAF- that tried to bring fresh ideas to this space crashed and burned and is only now releasing a 1.0 watered down version of their original concept.

FYI, I originally migrated my feeds from the Firefox Sage add-on to Google Reader in an attempt to curb my voracious feed reading appetitive. The theory at the time was that Reader was slower, less intuitive and less accesible than Sage. As it turned out, Reader has matured into a wonderful feed readr -the best IMHO so I'm as infoholic as ever. Sharing and compositing feeds with Reader is a treat as well.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


A high-res video of the failed 3rd launch attempt of SpaceX's Falcon 1. Watch the very end, where the stage separation goes bump. Essentially, the switch between an ablatively cooled engine in the first 2 attempts and the regeneratively cooled main booster engine in the third attempt caused the problem. Because there's residual thrust in a regen-engine -even after engine cutoff- the stages bumped after separation, causing loss of the rocket.

Rocket science is hard.