Reviews and Links for May 2012

Updated on Friday, May 22, 2020

No book reviews this month.

Links

#boarding SFO http://t.co/YLDFpmwF

Penn Jillette's rant against Obama's drug policy http://t.co/Ri5HAqxH

Congratulations @SpaceX -- Dragon arrives at space station in historic 1st http://t.co/91suk4ZV via @sfgate

Why your camera's GPS won't work in China (maybe) http://t.co/FQIFN8wI

Sigh, obvious, invalid, bullshit -- BBC News - Microsoft wins patent fight with Google's Motorola unit http://t.co/0PENWTCV

BBC News the secret links between Star Wars and Wales http://t.co/T8yEulCu (is there any tenuous link with Wales you won't publish?)

:) Hot weather to continue next week http://t.co/izAc2yA1

Not Skip's Tavern any more... http://t.co/dPx1NIj8

Reality rocks in San Francisco earthquake exhibit http://t.co/yo82B38b (Looking forward to this!)

BBC News - In pictures: Annular eclipse http://t.co/YA5F6or2 (Check out the Lemurs checking out the eclipse)

ITHCWY: Annular Eclipse at SFO: The only solar observatory outside the international terminal at SFO (some… http://t.co/ZqMXm8Ec

Beer was near, sadly earlier. http://t.co/2BeMAJZj

America's great divergence - American History - http://t.co/zQcVJIcQ http://t.co/fSdtXSvl

"Why won't you answer me?" - Parenting - http://t.co/zQcVJIcQ http://t.co/Ljzg6vpG (I should stop telling Kate about her 'milk head')

1906 earthquake refugee cottage at The Presidio. http://t.co/pof5LotA

+1 Judge suspends US law that provided for indefinite detention without trial - Boing Boing http://t.co/xsBuLyYb via @BoingBoing

Daniel Raven-Ellison, Guerrilla Geographer Information, Facts, News, Photos -- National Geographic http://t.co/DjgJdvMJ via @NatGeo

ITHCWY: Gopher Snake: Bernal Heights Park http://t.co/OoHYDU0y

Turned out nice... http://t.co/G2pHtgbd

RT @CatfoodSoftware: Blog: Catfood Software on Google+ and a Hangout Pledge: Catfood is now on Google+. Once 50… http://t.co/ZC84h8AN

ITHCWY: Open Immigration: I'm increasingly in favor of opening up immigration. Partly it's a general sense that a… http://t.co/cBLQT2rI

ITHCWY: Snake rests on Toad: At the California Academy of Sciences. http://t.co/YTQh682A

New Golden Gate Visitor center - lots of tat, no food :( http://t.co/vXmZn099

Obama sighting on morning dog walk. #fb http://t.co/wZdwN2Mj

President Obama: 'I Think Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able to Get Married'; http://t.co/CtC6k2A8 (shameful that it has taken this long)

Gaia revisited: http://t.co/sHSeFph7 - I'm still in the extreme camp: http://t.co/6dzIjBy7

Post Doyle Drive detour quite pleasant on the way home tonight. http://t.co/fSK8e4v9

THINKWALKS: http://t.co/ToOZo3KQ #todo in San Francisco @myEN

ITHCWY: Bottled Water: A company called Evive launched this week to battle the evil of bottled water with reusable… http://t.co/5X9e3emO

ITHCWY: Pelicans http://t.co/0xoup7z5

It's @KQED pledge yet again. Throw them a bone public radio freeloaders: http://t.co/00UvTamT

Illegal dumping can now be voted to fix at http://t.co/SsliF12n #bernal-heights!

Yet Another Awful Dumping Incident on Bernal Hill http://t.co/35kLDRdn via @bernalwood

+1 AllClear ID Rolls Out First-Ever Social Security Number Blocking Service For Children's IDs http://t.co/wnRILNzQ via @techcrunch

Rejected and controversial New Yorker cover art (the mentos one is very good) http://t.co/afo9AxZd via @BoingBoing #fb

Annular Eclipse at SFO

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Annular Eclipse at SFO

The only solar observatory outside the international terminal at SFO (some binoculars and a complicated harness of cardboard cup wrappers). Gathered quite a crowd!

Gopher Snake

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gopher Snake

Bernal Heights Park

Open Immigration

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Open Immigration

I'm increasingly in favor of opening up immigration. Partly it's a general sense that a person shouldn't be tied to a country by the accident of birth. Being free to migrate seems to me like it should be a basic human right. 

Partly it's the economic benefit. I'm in the software/Internet industry and I've been lucky enough to work in Silicon Valley via visa, green card and eventually citizenship. I hope I've also been a net benefit to my adopted home. I've certainly paid plenty of tax and helped to create a fair number of jobs. Vijay Govindarajan writing on the same topic lists a few more[1] illustrious transplants:

"Consider that the co-founder of Google is Sergey Brin, a Russian. The co-founder of Sun Microsystems is Vinod Khosla, an Indian. eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar, who is French. The co-founder of Juniper Networks is an Indian, Pradeep Sindhu. YouTube was co-founded by Steve Chen, who is Chinese. Yahoo! was co-founded by Jerry Yang, a Chinese immigrant. Andy Grove, a Hungarian, co-founded Intel."

Not that you need to create a billion plus dollar company to have a positive impact.

There are of course economic risks - primarily cheap labor lowering wages (albeit also lowering prices) and freeloaders benefiting from social programs without contributing back.

But cheap labor is getting those jobs anyway. It's a fundamental inequality that companies can shop around internationally for cheap employees but people can't shop around internationally for a job. And the impact of the freeloader problem can be reduced by requiring some length of residency before providing benefits. 

Of course some jobs require physical proximity and can't be outsourced and some level of freeloading will always be possible. This brings me to the third reason I support open immigration. It would bring a huge amount of focus to international development. If people are free to live and work where they want then there will be a huge motivation to improve living conditions and economic opportunity around the world. It might be the only way to make real progress in this area.

This policy could be unilateral, or it could be based on reciprocal treaty - the latter probably being more[2] practical, and hopefully fostering immigration in both directions.

[1] More in the sense of greater, not additional.

[2] More in the sense of closer to, I don't think it's actually very likely to happen.

Snake rests on Toad

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bottled Water

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bottled Water

A company called Evive launched this week to battle the evil of bottled water with reusable RFID equipped bottles that need a special filling station that plays advertising to you while you refill. Sort of like a water fountain but worse in every way possible. 

Concord Massachusetts just started to ban the sale of bottled water, joining several other towns and cities around the world. They've actually just banned small bottles, you can still buy a large one. 

Wouldn't it be better to leave the water on the shelf and ban Coke? 

Photo credit: Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden cc

Pelicans

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pelicans

Reviews and Links for April 2012

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

APIs: A Strategy Guide by Dan Woods

3/5

Works as a good checklist of the various business, legal, technical, marketing and strategic considerations you should think of when launching an API. Not a huge amount of depth in any one area though.

 

Pharmacology by Christopher Herz

4/5

A tale of legal and illegal drugs in San Francisco from the perspective of Sarah, a transplant from the mid-west in town to make money to send back to her sick father and expose the evils of the pharmaceutical industry. Reads like Sarah sat down next to you in a cafe and poured out her entire life story before you even knew what hit you.

 

Links

Interesting, but the first book I tried was wrong: http://t.co/gUPyhpjM (The Interpreter in Look to Windward)

ITHCWY: Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service: LEGO: I wrote in January about LEGO's[1] misogynistic latest LEGO… http://t.co/s2PlMzGn

ITHCWY: Kindle: Figure out sorting!: I love my Kindle. Loved it since seeing the screen for the first time after… http://t.co/zimbDLpz

ITHCWY: Catfood: Cleat 1.10: I've just released an updated version of Cleat that supports geolocation and… http://t.co/SESV9VH7

4 of 5 stars to Pharmacology by Christopher Herz http://t.co/SgGZR4Lz

I still don't like the Oxford Comma, but... http://t.co/oJB50wGw

ITHCWY: Prophylactic: Absolutely no chance of scurvy tonight. http://t.co/RpX1z78M

Artist Captures Dog vs. Gopher Confrontation on Bernal Hill http://t.co/OlUgGHOG - It could be Rudy...

Graffiti - Public - Other_enter_additional_details_below/101 Elsie St San Francisco, CA 94110, USA http://t.co/c9P7xkjx #bernal-heights!

Lego tries to get less sexist http://t.co/WD9lmRuK - and previously: http://t.co/Psc5ZNua

"It’s the product development version of the Hunger Games" - http://t.co/wNA0DHWy via @uservoice

SciFi in HiFi! - Sean Young's video of the making of Dune - Boing Boing http://t.co/BXTACFpj via @BoingBoing

Shocking, but need to distinguish between standardized tests and shit standardized tests: Florida standardized... http://t.co/c8488XDw

+1: Introducing the Innovator's Patent Agreement http://t.co/naK9hYxw via @twitter

Extraordinary: The real criminals in the Tarek Mehanna case http://t.co/GOqxgIJ2

They are deadly serious about not taking photos at @#spamalotsf http://t.co/5di7viuy

JSON Formatter & Validator: http://t.co/L220TCHf

ITHCWY: California Slender Salamander http://t.co/EvNlFOnS

Patent Law 101: What’s Wrong And Ways To Make It Right http://t.co/6QnLLHL7 via @techcrunch

ITHCWY: Even Shitier - Citibank Remortgage Scam: Citibank contacted us in December offering to remortgage our house… http://t.co/mxGi3j6K

ITHCWY: Baby Yellow Spiders: A chair in our garden has produced a bumper crop of baby Cross Orbweaver spiders. Very… http://t.co/0VBjSvPq

Wow: http://t.co/N4tbm77Y Rear Window loop via @jwz

Final Plan for Bernal Hill Trail Restoration Unveiled: http://t.co/bp3uFOZu - from @bernalwood

RT @Pearldotcom: Our new site is coming soon! Get on the list to be notified about launch details: http://t.co/75ddUi63

ITHCWY: Sod Searle And Sod His Sodding Room: Marcus du Sautoy, writing on BBC News, brings up Searle's Chinese Room… http://t.co/FmcVPbzC

ITHCWY: California, I can save you billions with a small and reasonably priced computer program...: California just… http://t.co/Ro96lk3J

California, I can save you billions with a small and reasonably priced computer program... http://t.co/iDZEbAQ9 -> @JerryBrownGov

Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Go-arounds: LEGO and Legislative Service

LEGO: I wrote in January about LEGO's[1] misogynistic latest LEGO for Girls campaign. Earlier this month I was excited to read Mary Elizabeth Williams reporting that 'Lego tires to get less sexist' on Salon but it turned out that rather than reversing course LEGO had just agreed to meet with SPARK. SPARK reports back on the meeting today with the news that LEGO has been conducting 'an internal audit of their minifigure count' and will generally be looking at their gender based marketing. Looking forward to seeing some actual results.

Legislative Service: I've been bothering people at parties about legislative service for around 20 years. Most people nod politely and back away. So I was pretty excited to read 'Fewer Voters, Better Elections' by Joshua Davis in the May 2012 issue of Wired. The thrust of the article is very similar to legislative service and highlight research from James Fishkin at Stanford (Deliberative Democracy, it looks like he's been bothering people at cocktail parties for longer than me) and David Chaum (Random-Sample Elections). Something like this has to be the solution to getting past the two-body problem of our current democracy.

Colophon: I pinched the title from the excellent Patrick Smith, although my aviation blogging is limited to bitching about British Airways. The picture comes from the Wikipedia article on go-arounds because it's hilarious in a Douglas Adamsian way - like you just couldn't understand the concept of not landing a plane without the illustration.

[1] Why do Americans go for LEGOS and math while the British use LEGO and maths?

Kindle: Figure out sorting!

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I love my Kindle. Loved it since seeing the screen for the first time after bothering a Judge I shouldn't have at an arbitration hearing. These days I mostly read using the Kindle app on my phone. And there's one thing that drives me nuts.

You can sort by author and you can sort by title but you can't sort by the date you purchased a book. When I finish a book and can't quite remember what's next in the queue this makes it impossible to search for it and curse Bezos for being off hunting rocket engines while he could be knocking heads together to fix this.

I'm sure there is a brain dead reason for this. Maybe it's not exposed with the book data and fixing this is festering on someone's backlog. Maybe the fact that some items may not have a purchase date is too hard a problem to deal with (hints: put these at the top, or the bottom, or make the feature only list purchased items). Come on Amazon, I'm sure you can figure this out.

What I really want is a queue. The same way I used to stack books to read on my bedside table I want to manage my to-read list at Amazon.com and then just have a button to load the next book. But I'd settle for sorting that works.