Monthly Archives: October 2009

The beauty of the (new) solar energy

When I think of solar energy, I don’t think of beauty. But seeing these  Solé Power Tiles, I am having second thoughts:

The blue tile makes me think of places like Santorini in Greece. A great improvement on the older black solar panels.

(Found via Inhabitat.)

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A brilliant dessert: pan-baked lemon almond tart by Mark Bittman

Why brilliant? Because it is simple, easy, and delicious. And looks great!  Mark Bittman always has good ideas, and I think this is one of his better ones. See: The Minimalist – Cake, Tart, Frittata – Call It the New Baking – Better yet, pick up the ingredients and make this dessert.

(Photo by Evan Sung for the

From Nuit Blanche to the Turner Prize

If you liked Nuit Blanche (or you are interested in modern art generally), you should note that the short list for the Turner Prize 2009 has been announced. The Guardian has a great rundown of the artists on the short list, as well as the Prize in general. The Turner Prize is always interesting and often controversial. Visit the site and wade into the discussion.

(Thanks to Lucia Orth for the pointer!)

Nuit Blanche in Toronto, featuring the likeable work of Jeff Koons

The great Toronto blog, Torontoist, has a excellent run down of the Nuit Blanche festival that occurred yesterday, including lots of  photos of the event.

One photo that really struck me was this one.

I believe it’s by Jeff Koons. It’s appropriate to see him in the Eaton Center. The Center has a famous installation of these beloved geese

And Koons work echoes this to some degree, though the differences (in the material and the object itself) is what makes Koons…well, Koons. What I think both work share, besides size, animal association, and suspension, is that they are both appealing to audiences. Koons may be a major figure in the modern art world, but different than artists like Serra or Hirst in that his recent work is appealing to a wide audience. Which makes it great for Nuit Blanche, and perfect for the Eaton Center. Whoever chose to put it there is very smart indeed.

If you are interested in Koons and other things going on in the world of sculpture, check out this.

(Geese photo from Diego_3336′s photostream. Bunny photo from the Torontoist).

You so don’t want to be this guy

Great ad (not surprisingly) from Nike

Nice that it was shot in Toronto, too! :)

The financial meltdown, animated

This is fascinating: the has a great animated timeline showing the meltdown of the U.S. Financial institutions between end of 2007 until now. Watching the banks shrink (and in some cases, disappear) like this gives you a sense of just how dramatic the decline was. The banks went from a capitalization of $1.54 trillion ($1540 billion) all the way down to $290 billion in March of 2009, essentially losing 80% of their capital. Anyone who thinks the intervention of the governments didn’t matter is dreaming in technicolour.

Now their capitalization is growing back up to a trillion again. Check this out to see who disappeared and who dominates now: How the Giants of Finance Shrank, Then Grew, Under the Financial Crisis – Interactive –

(Thanks to the Contrarian blog for this tip, too).

Where should windmills go? Why not ask the Dutch

After all, they know windmills. Contrary to what I see in North America, the Dutch appear to wisely put them in places that already have alot of noise and aren’t necessarily attractive. This is smarter than putting them in some rural places where the noise bothers people, or in some picturesque place where the view bothers people. If anything, seeing a windmill here:

…would be a welcome sight.

Thanks to the Contrarian blog for this.

The Incredible Australian Dust Storm

Is something to see. 400 km wide and 2000 km long, near Sydney. Sounds big, yes? Take a look:

From the blog, Molt:n Core. (Note: may be mildly NSFW if you have the sound on).

Did you know? Or, how the world is rapidly changing digitally…

…can be seen in this video here:

Lots of fascinating statistics, linked with a theme, presented well. One of the reasons for the powerful changes that digital technology is bringing on like the juggernaut that it is.

Thanks to for this.

Post summer, it’s time to freshen up your place

Now that the weather is getting cooler and then colder, we’ll all be spending more time indoors. If you look around and think a) I need to freshen up my place b) I am strapped for funds to do that, then check out this article from Style At Home: 15 best budget buys.

Even with very limited funds, you will get some good ideas to make your indoors seem fresh.

My first Thinkpad

Tomorrow is my 26th anniversary with IBM. When I first joined IBM, they gave me one of these:

It’s a notebook. I wish I still had it, for IBM stopped giving this out some time ago.
(Thanks to Kottke for this)

Zombie fans! No doubt you have been wondering…..

…have I seen all of the best Zombie movies? Maybe I missed 1 or 2? Well, if you have been wondering that, EW’s got your back. See the comprehensive rundown (pun intended) of the 25 Best Zombie Movies of All Time.

Remarkable video of Anne Frank in 1941

I found this remarkable video of Anne Frank via The Globe and Mail. (You can see her leaning out of a window).

According to The Globe,

‘The Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam has begun airing the only known video of the teenage diarist on a channel dedicated to her on YouTube.

The channel also features clips of others, including her late father Otto and Nelson Mandela, talking about Anne, museum spokeswoman Annemarie Bekker said Friday. “It is really a great platform to show all the different kinds of films and documentaries about Anne Frank.” ‘

For more, click on the link to the Globe, the video itself, or you can go to The Anne Frank House web site.

Just when I think I can’t be surprised by what I come across on the Internet, I come across something that surprises me.

My free marketing tip of the day… this. If you want to a) do useless marketing analysis b) waste money c) be ridiculed in the process, then do this:

 Domino’s Uses Astrology To Predict Favorites

The Greatest Hits from YouTube

It’s interesting that YouTube has been around long enough that we can think in terms of the top videos from it. But if you have been watching it with any regularity, you will likely recognize some of the clips featured here:

And if you haven’t been watching YouTube, watch this to see what you missed!

Actually, YouTube is a rich and varied media. These are the oddest of the lot (though “Chocolate Rain” is missing…truly an oversight).

YouTube – 100 GREATEST HITS OF YOUTUBE IN 4 MINUTES (now with list!)

Words to live by

I am impressed by the UK government’s Calling Open Data Developers for their help. If you are a data (or any kind of software) developer, check out this link. But honestly, what I really liked was this:

Truly good advice.

Using social media tools to recruit people

National Resources Canada  ( which is part of the Government of Canada)  is recruiting in 2009. Here’s part of their pitch to new recruits:

“At Natural Resources Canada, we don’t just think outside the box. We work outside the box.

As well as pens, paper and computers, the tools of the trade might include a pick, or a shovel, a GPS and camping gear. And on some days, the closest thing to a colleague might have feathers or fur.
We don’t block YouTube or Facebook. Our people decide what tools help them to work as a team and to get the job done. Our very own Wiki helps give wings to the most creative ideas, whether they come from a senior manager or someone at entry level.”

Any companies recruiting new (and not so new) hires should be aware that other organizations are competing for the same people  that you are by offering them access to social media tools as a benefit. Smart thinking on their part.