Monthly Archives: July 2009

THIS would make a great guest bedroom bed

I mean, it’s comfortable and all, but no doubt after a few days, the guests will start having nightmares about being a Happy Meal and say their goodbyes. :)

the mogg blogg: Oh No You Didn’t!

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Laleh Seddigh and other fascinating items about Iran from Andrew Sullivan

This is Laleh Seddigh. When you think of Iranian women, you likely think: race car drivers, yes? :) No, I didn’t either. That’s why you should check out this blog post at The Daily Dish By Andrew Sullivan. He has the lowdown on Laleh Seddigh, for starters. Saying “she’s cool” is an understatement. And if you like that,  he also has a number of posts titled “Outing Iran” whereby he talks about aspects of Iran that get past our Western stereotypes of Iran and what it means to be an Iranian. Well worth reading.

LOLCats explains Morgan Stanley’s insanity

I found a LOLCats photo that perfectly explains Morgan Stanley’s recent moves (see blog post below this one). Simply replace “Bugsy” with “Morgan Stanley” and it all makes sense…

Image from LOLcats ‘n’ Funny Pictures of Cats – I Can Has Cheezburger?

The Insanity of Morgan Stanley Plans to Turn Downgraded Loan CDO Into AAA Bonds

That’s what Bloomberg.com says they are going to do. Why they are able to do this after the recent months is beyond me. Perhaps someone can explain why it isn’t criminally insane. Someone needs to look into this now.

In the meantime, I think this just about captures it:

(Image from icanhascheezburger.com/)

Important-boring stuff: open source machine learning compiler (somewhat techie)

For most people, this IBM press release from the IBM Press room – 2009-06-30 IBM Research and European Union Provide Software Developers with Performance Gains and Faster Time-To-Market – United States that states that…

“IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced the public availability of Milepost GCC, the world’s first open source machine learning compiler. The compiler intelligently optimizes applications, translating directly into shorter software development times and bigger performance gains.”

…would be something that would provoke yawns or shrugs.

Yet, it could make a big impact on alot of things you do on a computer:

“For example, when a company wants to develop a new mobile phone, it normally takes application developers many months to get their software running at an acceptable level of performance. Milepost GCC can reduce the amount of time it takes to reach that level by a factor of 10.”

Sometimes it is the boring yet important changes that occur that have a big impact. Not only is the technology speeding up development of new technology — which affects us all — but it is being distributed in a way that many people can get access to it. Good stuff!

N.B. I personally find it very exciting, but that’s me! :) Also, I work for IBM, but I think this would be viewed as important regardless of where you work.

Moonlight Becomes You

By Bing. Bing sings it so well. (He looks great in that sharp double breasted number, too)

One of my favourite songs.

YouTube – Bing Crosby – Moonlight Becomes You

Who produces garbage?

One of the results of the current garbage strike in Toronto is people stating that the strike shows you how much garbage we needlessly produce. Now it may sound like wordplay, but consumers rarely “produce” garbage. Consumers do throw out garbage. And if you consider that they fill up a bag, then that is a form of production (albeit a very weak one).

The problem with that is it gets companies off the hook, and I think that’s wrong. Really, the ones producing garbage are companies. Companies that sell their products with poor packaging choices cause the production of garbage. I would prefer as little, if any, packaging for the goods I purchase. And of the packaging I do get, why can’t I get it in a form I can recycle? That’s simple: companies don’t want to lose a competitive advantage with what they consider inferior packaging. And there are few penalties for them to produce goods this way. Likewise for the companies that distribute these products.

If a grocer sells me individual fruit and I use a plastic bag to carry them home and then throw away the bag, I am producing garbage. If a shoe store sells me shoes in a recyclable box and I throw it in the trash, I am producing garbage. But for alot of goods, I don’t have that choice. I could not buy them. A better option would be have as little packaging as possible, and of the packaging I do have,  I should be able to reuse or recycle it. 

One of my favourite extended metaphors from Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”

Cities & The Dead

What makes Argia different from other cities is that it has earth instead of air. The streets are completely filled with dirt, clay packs the rooms to the ceiling, on every stair another stairway is set in negative, over the roofs of the houses hang layers of rocky terrain like skies with clouds. We do not know if the inhabitants can move about the city, widening the worm tunnels and the crevices where roots twist: the dampness destroys people’s bodies, and they have scant strength; everyone is better off remaining still, prone; anyway, it is dark.

From up here, nothing of Argia can be sen; some say “It’s down below there,” and we can only believe them. The place is deserted. At night, putting your ear to the ground, you can sometimes hear a door slam.

It’s not over in Iran

The news has been relatively subdued coming out of Iran. But things are not over. This article, Leading Clerics Defy Ayatollah on Disputed Iran Election in NYTimes.com, shows that while the conflict may not be as dramatic in the streets, it is playing out elsewhere.

If Our Ads Reflect our Society, then….

….what do ads like this say?

Over at the site  Retro Comedy are more such ads that show how our views and values have changed over time.

Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas BBQ Sauce

This recipes has coffee AND bacon in it. And smoked cheese! It’s practically nature’s most perfect food! Ok ok…but it is still one delicious looking burger.  Plus, you could use that rub for lots of things besides burgers.  For all the details, see Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburgers with Texas Barbecue Sauce Photo at Epicurious.com.

And check out epicurious.com in general. It has alot of really good recipes that manage to be fairly easy but with good combinations of flavous.

Reasons to use twitter: check out the air in Beijing

Really! There is a sensor of some sort in Beijing that is measuring the quality of the air in that city and broadcasting the information via Twitter. (BeijingAir (BeijingAir) on Twitter)

In some ways, this is a set back from a webcam. But in other ways, it is better, because now someone could take this data and do some analysis of it over time, or do a mashup with it.

I expect we’ll see more things like this soon.

Celebrating Canada Day with Bob and Doug McKenzie of the Great White North (and SCTV)

Canada is famous for its comedians, and Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas as well as the rest of the SCTV crew are up there with the best. One of the bits they used to do on SCTV was portray these two “Canadians”, Bob and Doug McKenzie. in a segment called “The Great White North”. According to wikipedia:

“The Great White North” (originally known as “Kanadian Korner”) was a panel show that played upon Canadian stereotypes. Bob and Doug, two dimwitted beer-swilling brothers wearing heavy winter clothing and toques, would comment on various elements of Canadian life and culture, frequently employing the interjection “Eh?” and derisively calling each other a “hoser.” Among the topics discussed were snow routes, the Canadian-built robot arm on the Space Shuttle, the inappropriateness of bedtime stories about dog fights, flat tires, and “why there aren’t enough parking spaces at take-out doughnut shops.”

The sketch was conceived when SCTV moved to the CBC television network. Each episode to be broadcast on that network was two minutes longer than those syndicated to the United States. The CBC network heads asked the show’s producers to add specifically and identifiably Canadian content for those two minutes. Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas thought that this was a ridiculous request, since the show had been taped in Canada, with a mostly Canadian cast and crew, for two years. The request inspired them to create a parody that would incorporate every aspect of the humorous stereotype of Canadians.

The segments were videotaped at the end of a day’s shooting, with just Thomas and Moranis and a single camera operator. The sketches were for the most part improvised on the set, and after doing several such ad-libbed bits, they would then select the best ones for use on the program.

The whole “CBC/Canadian content” request is a very Canadian thing, too. :) But in a way, I’m glad: the result was some very good comedy.

For folks who have never seen this, here’s a taste of the show:

Beauty, eh?