Cleaning the instapaper queue and, At any moment now…

Charles Pierce will roll out his weekly dissection of David Brooks’ latest hand wringing over the declining morals in America.  Because, you know, if we unemployed scientists hadn’t screwed and  gotten high all the time and had children out of wedlock, we’d be better educated and fully employed.  This week’s Brooksian post was a doozy so I am nearly peeing myself in anticipation of the next episode of the adventures of Moral Hazard, the PR dog of the Young Fogey’s club.

In the meantime, here’s some stuff that has accumulated in my instapaper queue:

I can’t wait until I have enough money to buy a Dutch bike. American cities aren’t ready for them but I predict a booming business in the next couple of decades. I love the Bear Bicycle ads.  Look at what we have to look forward to:

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In Gene Sequencing for Leukemia, Glimpses of the Future recounts the course of a leukemia researcher’s battle with the disease from a personal standpoint.  This article made me nostalgic because FLT3 was one of the proteins I modeled before we had any good publicly available structures.  It was a tangent that my project went off on while we were working on a closely related protein.  It’s good to know that this group of proteins can be inhibited successfully.  I’d love to still be involved in these projects.  Very satisfying.

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In case you haven’t seen this post already, David Kotok writes in BusinessWeek Insider what the financial fallout of the LIBOR manipulations could be and says claims could “spiral into the trillions”.  It could be very profitable for lawyers who have a future full of lawsuits from municipalities, investors and individuals who were negatively affected by the rate manipulations.

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BuzzFeed Politics reports on the silly right wing outrage over the Obama campaign’s use of the Revolution Gothic font.  I like the font.  Might even use it myself someday.  It’s just a fricking font, people.  Stop frothing at the mouth.  Anyway, it’s the slogan the Obama campaign is using that should get everyone’s attention:

In the wake of so many Wall Street scandals, and the fact that it funded Obama generously in 2008, “betting on America” seems ill-advised.  Betting and gambling on America definitely conjures up negative connotations.  I’d fire the PR department, but then, I’d fire the whole campaign and the candidate, so, maybe I’m not being objective enough.  Still…

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Crammed into Cheap Bunks, Dreaming of Digital Glory is about “Hacker Hostels” in California where entrepreneurs, techies and geeks can get together and collaborate.  The places are flophouses for the young aspiring future Mark Zuckerbergs.  I think it’s an ingenious solution to a perplexing problem: what are you supposed to live on when you’re creating all this good stuff that venture capitalists and corporations are going to want to license from you or invest in?  Ideating isn’t easy and people have to eat. I think it’s great that geeks are finally starting to socialize and share ideas but you’d think we’d make it easier for Americans to innovate, maybe not indenture them to their student loans so they could actually have their own bedrooms.  But no, this is America!

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Here’s a great timewaster.  (Warning: if you have things to do today, do not click on this link) The Landmark Trust in Britain buys old properties, some of them very old, and renovates them, restoring them as closely as possible to their original forms and functions.  Then, it rents them out as vacation properties.  Yes, you too could stay in your own Mill-on-the-Floss or castle.  It’s bloody brilliant!

Brinkburn Mill

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If you’ve ever wanted to code javascript (and who hasn’t, right?), here’s a cool way to learn how to do it.  The CodeAcademy will take you through a series of exercises, step-by-step.  You type exactly what they tell you to type (not as easy as it sounds) and then hit the run button to watch it work.  This is not a time waster.  I’ve learned a lot in the first 7 or so lessons.  The problem is it doesn’t stick in my brain for very long.  So, practice, practice, practice.

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And now for something completely different, The Thinking Atheist, Seth Andrews, put together this lovely youtube video for people who are scared to death of death:

Chill.

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15 Responses

  1. I offer a phrase to describe David Brooks in case anyone else wants to start using it, and here it is: One Shtik Phoney.

    • Lol! You’re right, he’s getting to be repetitive. Well, so am I, to some extent, but I’m not writing an op column for the times. You tend to expect more when people are working with a big megaphone.

  2. As a typical Boulder bike snob, I have to admit that I really don’t get the fascination with Dutch bikes. De gustibus non disputandum, I suppose.

    • I suppose if you are the kind of cyclist who has their bike(s) custom made from individual pieces made of engineered light weight material, knows what a derailler is, and thinks that seats are for sissies, then, yeah, I suppose Dutch bikes are a mystery wrapped in an enigma to you.
      But dutch bikes aren’t made for speed or steep terrain or performance of a Breaking Away variety. They’re appliances meant to transport the cyclist from point A to point B. They are upright because pedaling with your body at a 90 degree angle is not comfortable unless you’re doing a time trial. They feature baskets and racks to make it easier to tote groceries, backpacks, laptops and tikes. They have bells and lights to be safe in traffic.
      If you like to get around town on your titanium frame, 20 speed, ultra tech bicycle, knock yourself out. You will have beautiful calves and every woman in the world will want to catch a glimpse of your ass in your Lycra shorts. The rest of us will pedal upright and take in the scenery as we reduce our carbon footprint and get fit.
      I think what little room there is on the road for bikes can accommodate both styles.

    • I meant to add that this is not a competition, except, apparently, to bike snobs, who see every cyclist on the road as a new opportunity to do some kind of bizarre alpha male rutting ritual. Maybe you don’t ‘get’ Dutch style urban biking because they’re not interested in sparring with you. That takes all the challenge out of meeting new people on bikes. Therefore, they must be ‘inferior’. It’s a bit eugenic, IMHO. Of course, I’m only pulling your leg (sort of).
      As for me, I’ve never liked riding with my face over my handle bars or feeling like I will become a human missile if I come to a sudden stop. Watching a bike race is fun but I wouldn’t want to be in one.
      I might even get an assist bike if I move to hilly terrain.
      I can just imagine the horror on your face as I wrote that. I don’t mind hills but there’s a limit to how much steepness I can tolerate on a daily commute. As it is, my 15 year old hybrid just isn’t going to cut it.

    • As gas reaches a $6-$8/gallon band, more normal people will be forced onto bicycles more and more. Those bicycles will look more and more like this:http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/indbikes.html

      (Though of course in your fellow-Colorado city of Fort Collins, Belgian bicycles are becoming quite the in-snob thing among the employees at a yuppie-upscale microbrewery called New Belgium.
      How would I know this? I know someone who works there.http://www.newbelgium.com/LegalPurchasingAge.aspx?ReturnUrl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.newbelgium.com%2fenjoy-the-ride.aspx

      • Thank you!
        I can’t wait to upgrade my bike to a Dutch style model.

        • The only thing I mayyyybe don’t like, in theory, about these bikes is that they are 3-speed and the 3-speediness is achieved by some kind of “planetary transmission” INside the rear wheel Sturmey-Archer hub.
          Or it was the last I heard. And that all sounds so alien to me that I don’t feel quite comfortable with the concept even though I am sure it is good or Worksman Bicycles wouldn’t use it. Also, I read somewhere that something like 20 per cent of the physical effort conveyed to the rear-gear by the chain is lost in some kind of internal friction inside that Sturmey-Archer hub. That seems highly inelegant to me. But I only read this. I have no idea if it is true or not. Propertius might know all about that. An advantage of being an inFORMED bike snob is that you know about stuff like that. If Propertius is indeed inFORMED about these things, he could confirm or correct what I just said, if he feels like it.

          • Public Bikes make 7 and 8 speed models. Not every terrain is as flat as the Netherlands so the people in San Francisco adapted.

    • Propertius,

      My uncle got me a used bike when I came out here to college (Ann Arbor), lightly-used and almost like new. It is a 5 speed Glider (a Raleigh clone made under license in Quebec). I have kept it through repair after repair for about 34 years now. Bikes of that type are seen more and more rarely in bike shops, from what I gather.

      I will offend your sensibilities further by mentioning that I had the
      handlebar-stem (or whatever that thing is called) pulled out and rotated right-around exactly 180 degrees backwards from how it was . . . so that the handlebars would be “projecting backwards” even
      closer to me than otherwise, so that I can ride sitting completely upright. I did it for repetitive motion syndrome problems.

      By the way, have you ever heard of the name “Mark Nobilette”?

  3. How do the Dutch bikes compare to Japanese shopping bikes? Most of them are step thru frames and have fully enclosed chains. Another nice thing is the kick stand flips down under the tire so the bike doesn’t lean. something you would appreciate when you have a basket full of groceries.

    On to the present problem we are all experiencing:

    If the polling is an indicator this far out from November, it has taken Obama less than one term to get where George the Lesser was in 2008. Think about it, George had the advantage of allowing the worst attack since Pearl Harbor, the invasion or the wrong country in retaliation for that attack, the failure to get the master mind of that attack, a botched response to hurricane Katrina that left scores dead from exposure, and, to top it off, a financial meltdown of epic proportions.

    And they wonder why we are calling for him to step away.

    • George, Cheney, and them achieved what they wanted. They invaded the country they had in mind right from the start for their own reasons. (I read somewhere that they and Rumsfeld in particular didn’t even want to be bothered with Afghanistan at all but Blair said he would not help invade Iraq unless Bush “solved Afghanistan first”).

      They didn’t “fail” to get the mastermind. They turned the mastermind loose accidentally-on-purpose at Tora Bora by standing down the Marines to divert them to Iraq and sending in some crappy little Afghan militiamen instead. That was an “arranged escape” as far as I am concerned. The response to Katrina only appears botched to non-psychopaths like you and me. Actually the response to Katrina was deliberately crafted at many levels and the response obtained was the response sought for right from the start. There is a blog where you can read about this stuff called Rigorous Intuition 2.0, by Jeff Wells. It has subject sections going down the right side, and one of those sections is titled Katrina. Here is just a sample of what you will see there should you decide to take a look.http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2006/01/ballad-of-finis-shelnutt.html

      As to the FinCrash Meltdown . . . yeah, that kinda got away from them, I’ll grant you that. And also Bush didn’t succeed in getting SS privatised and flushed down the Wall Street . . . which could be why
      we had the big FinCrash Meltdown.

      And Obama has achieved what he set out to achieve just the same as Bush did. If his poll numbers are low, he will live with that. He rehabilitated the Republicans and brought them back to power, he protected the gang bankers from any scrutiny at all, he (and his co-conspirators in the Senate) have shielded the gang bankers from any re-regulation under cover of pretending to re-regulate (Dodd-Frank),
      he has cemented and routinized the BushCo neo-security state, he has succeeded in extending the BushCo Tax Cuts for 3 years so far under cover of pretending to oppose them and it looks like he will get them extended long enough for his Republican co-conspirators to make them permanent. He got his Baucus-Obama Romneycare plan passed and destroyed any chance at Canadian singler payer for decades at least.

      Obama hasn’t been able to destroy SS yet, but he has come closer than Bush with his clever long-range salami tactics. There is the 11 dimensional chess for real and no joke, and very few people even see it. Senator Harkin saw it and protested a bit, but not enough to try inspiring and arranging a Mass Democratic Exodus from the Ex-Democratic Party.

      So if Obama gets defeated he will leave office with his head held pretty high mostly. He will be able to say “My work here is mostly done”. And he will be very richly rewarded for it after he leaves office.

    • Oh, and as to “allowing the worst attack since Pearl Harbor”, that was also on purpose. Remember what he said to the CIA agent’s warning down in Dallas? “Alright, you’ve covered your ass. Now lets move on”.
      That was his plausibly deniable way of saying: “tell me something I DON’T know”.

      Joe Cannon would never allow such thoughts on his blog, if I understand his posted rules. At least Riverdaughter and Katiebird don’t censor such opinions here. If I end up smelling like shit and tinfoil, its my own fault.

  4. Riverdaughter,
    Here is some bicycle porn.http://surlybikes.com/bikes

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