Archive for March, 2011

Pasquerella on Perkins (and LePage)

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I don’t want to make “this all Paul LePage, all the time” but I have to share this.

Mount Holyoke College President Lynn Pasquerella wrote a letter to the New York Times about Governor LePage’s removal of the Department of Labor murals: “Honoring Frances Perkins“.

Additionally, here’s the letter that Dr. Pasquerella faxed to his office yesterday.

Key quote:

I was particularly surprised to read that you were influenced by an anonymous fax comparing the 11-panel mural to North Korean political propaganda, because the act of removing images commemorating Maine’s history itself conjures thoughts of the rewriting of history prevalent in totalitarian regimes. If the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. is housed in the Frances Perkins Building, why can’t she be honored with a conference room in Augusta?


New York Times on LePage

Monday, March 28th, 2011

So we’ve had Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow and countless blogs chime in on Governor LePage’s decision to remove murals from the Department of Labor.

Let’s add the New York Times to the list:

They get bonus points for mentioning the thing with employing his daughter in a $41,000 entry level job …

LePage Funny

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Which of these is funnier?

Gov. LePage Orders Little Girl’s Sandcastle Kicked In

LePage Orders Cancellation of Labor Day

Oh LePage!

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

A thanks to all of the people who voted for Mitchell, Moody or the other one there. You brought us to this.

Robert Reich – Robert freakin’ Reich! – comments on LePage now: “A governor destroys history in the name of promoting business.”

Key quote:

Governor, you might be able to erase some of Maine’s memory, but you’ll have a hard time erasing the nation’s memory – even if it’s not in keeping with your pro-business goals.

Personally I hope he names the conference rooms after some other famous Americans: Rockefeller, Carnegie, Astor, Gould, Morgan, Vanderbilt …

Duh, Transit

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

I know, I know, making fun of USA Today is a little easy. But even this story is basic beyond belief: “City’s design, transit system can ease gas costs“.

Key quote:

Some cities in the USA are better positioned to deal with rising gas prices than others because of their design and transit systems, according to basic common sense.

Okay, okay, I changed the last line. But seriously, a whole article about how transit saves people gas money? C’mon!

Einstein Quotation

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

I just saw an interesting/scary quotation and thought I’d share:

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

– Albert Einstein (1947)

Free iPad Story

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

I don’t know if I buy that this is true, but it makes a great story: “iPad 2: Wife Says No, but Apple Says Yes“.

Apple is paying close attention to all iPad 2 returns during the first few weeks to make sure there are no major production defects. This policy has led to an amusing story that we thought was entertaining enough to share.

The story comes by way of an individual close to Apple:

[Apple's] focus this week has been to troubleshoot all the iPad 2s that customers are returning to the stores. One iPad came back with a post it note on it that said “Wife said no.” It was escalated as something funny, and two of the VPs got wind of it. They sent the guy an iPad 2 with a note on it that said “Apple said yes.”

We’re guessing a free iPad satisfied any objection the customer’s wife might have had.


Florida High Speed Rail

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Awww. AWWW!

Study: High-speed train would have made money“.

Key quote:

The Orlando-to-Tampa high-speed train scuttled by Gov. Rick Scott as a multibillion-dollar boondoggle would have made money from Day One, according to a ridership study released Wednesday by the state.

More than 3.3 million people would have used the 84-mile line, generating almost $63 million in ticket sales during its first year of operation in 2015-16, the report said, leading to a $10 million operating surplus.

The Rise of Humanity

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Today’s New York Times article has nothing to do with Facebook, in fact, it’s 15,000 years older than the six year old social website. Check out: “Supremacy of a Social Network“.

It’s so amazing it was hard to find just one key quote:

The two principal traits that underlie the human evolutionary success, in Dr. Hill’s view, are the unusual ability of nonrelatives to cooperate – in almost all other species, only closely related individuals will help each other – and social learning, the ability to copy and learn from what others are doing. A large social network can generate knowledge and adopt innovations far more easily than a cluster of small, hostile groups constantly at war with each other, the default state of chimpanzee society.

It’s the most concise report detailing the transition from primates to humans – it’s got it all from walking upright to tools to monogamy, to the building of societies.


Proud to be an American

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Interesting David Brooks column at the New York Times today: “The Modesty Manifesto“.

Key quote:

If Americans do, indeed, have a different and larger conception of the self than they did a few decades ago, I wonder if this is connected to some of the social and political problems we have observed over the past few years.

I wonder if the rise of consumption and debt is in part influenced by people’s desire to adorn their lives with the things they feel befit their station. I wonder if the rise in partisanship is influenced in part by a narcissistic sense that, “I know how the country should be run and anybody who disagrees with me is just in the way.”

Most pervasively, I wonder if there is a link between a possible magnification of self and a declining saliency of the virtues associated with citizenship.

Citizenship, after all, is built on an awareness that we are not all that special but are, instead, enmeshed in a common enterprise. Our lives are given meaning by the service we supply to the nation. I wonder if Americans are unwilling to support the sacrifices that will be required to avert fiscal catastrophe in part because they are less conscious of themselves as components of a national project.

There’s An App For That …

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

So this is terribly geeky, but indulge me.

I’ve come to realize over the last two months that the whole point of having an Apple iPhone is to amass applications, or “apps” in the colloquial.

One doesn’t make “apps”, though, that’s too tricky.

To make an “app” one needs to submit it through the Apple Store and their Byzantine application process. That takes time, money, and a strict review process.

The alternative is that one can simply make a webpage and have people add a bookmark to it to their home screen.

As you know, a few weeks ago I made this website mobile friendly. But the logo to the bookmark was a snapshot of the webpage, which is, quite frankly, ugly.

So tonight I discovered how to make the icon pretty.

Check out this screen shot of my home page as it stands tonight (hint, look between the Calendar and the Camera):

I think that is very cool …

Disney Media and Advertising Lab?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I’d never heard of this before: “Disney’s lab studies people“.

Key quote:

A typical study might have two similar groups of viewers witnessing almost identical content under identical conditions. That way any differences in their reactions can be attributed to the difference in content alone.

The lab gathers biometric data on the viewers: eye-gaze tracking, heart rate, skin conductivity. That information gives insight into their reactions that surveys couldn’t capture. For the future, the lab is looking at brainwave measurements as another tool.

The concept for the Disney lab was born at a Disney ad sales forum. The Mouse and its advertisers found it was becoming very difficult to know which ads were working.


Funny Joke

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

I just read a funny joke on the Daily Kos:

A CEO, a tea party member, and a union worker are all sitting at a table when a plate with a dozen cookies arrives. Before anyone else can make a move, the CEO reaches out to rake in eleven of the cookies. When the other two look at him in surprise, the CEO locks eyes with the tea party member. “You better watch him,” the executive says with a nod toward the union worker. “He wants a piece of your cookie.”

Disney post-Disney, Apple post-Jobs

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Aol’s DailyFinance website had a so-so article yesterday I wanted to share: “Apple After Steve Jobs? Disney May Hold a Clue“.

The premise is that the Walt Disney Company (then named “Walt Disney Productions”) survived after Walt Disney’s December 1966 death, and actually grew significantly in the period in which is was governed by Roy O. Disney, Walt’s older brother.

What I thought initially was the key quote:

Roy Disney not only furthered the vision he had shared with Walt, he managed Disney through some of its best years. The chart below shows Disney’s stock performance against the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the six years after Walt Disney died. By December 1972, Disney’s stock had appreciated 1,140% from December 1966. The Dow had gained only 30%.

My first thought was, “Wow, that’s a fantastic number!”

But then something caught my eye. Roy O. Disney died in December of 1971.

We all know this because Walt Disney World opened on October 1, 1971, and Roy had a massive stroke fewer than three months later.

Their 1,140% number is from December of 1972.

That’s sheer trickery.

Sure, in December of 1971 Disney stock was still a respectable 700-something-percent above where it was after Walt’s death, but the massive speculation after Roy O. Disney passed is where the inflated 1,140% comes from. Investors, quite honestly, though the company was going up for sale or auction now that both founding brothers were gone.

Could they be more blatant with their goofy numbers?

As far as Apple goes: A) Steve Jobs has no brother, so this comparison is lame, B) Steve Jobs was missing from Apple for a decade between 1985 and 1996 and the company damn-near went bankrupt, and C) since his return Jobs has groomed the COO, Tim Cook, as possible-future-leader – in fact, right now he’s acting-CEO – so they do have a succession plan.

Stupid article.

New Leibovitz Disney Portraits

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Last week the Disney Parks Blog posted a few new photos from Annie Leibovitz: “Disney Parks Unveils New Annie Leibovitz Disney Dream Portraits“.

Check out Olivia Wilde and Alec Baldwin from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Penelope Cruz and Jeff Bridges from Beauty and the Beast, and Queen Latifah as Ursula from The Little Mermaid:


Monday, March 7th, 2011

I’ll probably mess this link up, I’m having difficulty with posting links from my phone, but check out this article on left-handedness from today’s New York Times:

“On the Left Hand, There Are No Easy Answers”

I don’t care for how the author used the word “wrong” a few times, but he ended with Jon Lester, so that’s something …


Monday, March 7th, 2011

While on vacation last week I saw an interesting article in the New York Times: “Once a Villain, Coconut Oil Charms the Health Food World“.

Key quote:

“But my favorite new way to use coconut oil is for popcorn. The oil brings out the nutty sweetness of the corn itself while adding a rich creamy sensation, without having to pour melted butter on the top.”

I had to pick some up.

Whole Foods, amazingly, had three different varieties of virgin coconut oil.

Over the weekend we made popcorn with it, and it was fantastic. Just like the article said, no butter needed.

We’re back!

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

We’re back from our vacation to Florida and Walt Pixar World. Err … “Walt Disney World”.

For a minute I was confused, it appeared those Pixar characters had taken over the entire kingdom. But more on that another time.

It’s odd, they’re gearing up for the 40th Anniversary down there (the Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971).

It makes me feel old that I remember the 15th Anniversary so vividly.

Walt Disney World 15th Anniversary logo

Anyway, photos will be along in a few days.