You got a fabulous deal on your mortgage because China’s workers were prevented from spending the money they had earned.
The Chinese government is having to walk a really fine line between pressure for continued job growth and economic reality. Without that double digit growth, the lack of freedoms given by the “communist” party start to look pretty unsustainable. I think the next few years are going to be very interesting in China.
So, I’m here in China with our own MM. we’re having a really great time, and I’ll post more on the experience, along with some pictures once I get back. This post, however, is just a little test. He and I were discussing our lack of knowledge regarding how much the web really is censored here. For instance, now that google china is no more, we are just redirected to the Hong Kong site, which would seem, if anything, to be a step toward less control. Then I saw something in the lonely planet (written in 06) that said certain words like tibet, falun gong, etc. would warrant automatic blockage. The test, then, is to see if a) I can post those words from China, and b) if I can view the post from here.
Filed under: General by Joel @ 11:39 - April 21st, 2010
I’m burned out on southpark because every episode has to be over the top. Still, I usually agree with Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The new episode is still over the top, but this time they are making fun of Islam in a pretty subtle way. It does a good job of showing that Islam, at this point in history, really is behind the other major religions in it’s ability to allow criticism and independent thought.
And as if to better illustrate their point, the threats have started:
The commentary at the end of the piece is worth the wait.
Filed under: General by Joel @ 01:44 - February 3rd, 2010
Last Night I went to go see Nordwand at the Mayan. Holy shit, this movie is ridiculously intense. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it exactly and it was probably about 30 minutes too long, but it had 4 great things going for it:
The most intense 45 minutes of movie-watching I’ve ever experienced (this is not an exageration)
Really accurate depiction of the gear and techniques used by alpinists in the 30s
A good depiction of a real, tragic event as tragic in the literary sense
If you’re into mountaineering, it’s definitely worth seeing.
Just discovered a great app: Better Touch Tool. You can assign pretty much any action to any multi touch gesture. Now i can four finger swipe in different directions to move between spaces. works with the new magic mouse too, so now I might even get one…
I’ve been playing with this really cool GPS app for the iphone. If you are rockin’ a 3g or 3gs, you should be rockin’ this app. It will let you do most of what you’d want to do with a dedicated hand held gps (maps, tracks, waypoints, etc.), plus it lets you download those maps over wifi or the cell network, take and geotag photos, and share your location via FB, twitter, or email, send yourself kmz or gpx files of where you’ve been. In addition to google and bing maps, you can download maps from the totally open source OpenStreetMap, which I didn’t even know about (Zmurder, did you?). I seriously think that in a post iphone world, electronics that are not connected to the interwebs will seem increasingly dumb.
The light version is free and awesome, but I think the 2.99 upgrade is worth it, if for no other reason than to support what they are doing.
Most behaviors, customs, etc. are obviously influenced by both ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, but I tend to see things in terms of genetics and evolution. So, when I’m confronted the unfamiliar practices that count as “human nature” in other cultures (polygamy for instance), I have to admit I’m a little overly biased toward the ‘nature’ camp. According to this article, maybe I’m not. It gives some good arguments that, among other things, the same genetic motivators might actually promote polygamy in some cultures and monogamy in others, and even why the seemingly obvious cultural bias toward blond-haired, blue-eyed women might be human nature too.
I’d take this with a few grains of salt; The article often mentions data that would motivate it’s explanations, but rarely mentions data that would further justify them. The explanations are certainly plausible, though, and for people like me who are predisposed to ‘nature’ arguments, they’re pretty compelling.
Some (and maybe all) of the Denver JttMers are talking about a little Seattle excursion for Potlatch / Independance Day / Zmurder’s bday. As per Zach’s request I’ve created an rss feed for updates on our plans. Slap this ridiculous, hand edited, lo-fi yet hi-tech bad boy into your feed reader on the off chance I remember to add to it.
I know, I know, you’ve already seen or been sent a hundred links that are supposed to be “a great explanation of the financial crisis.” This is the first one I’ve read that I’d actually hope our policy-makers read. It’s less about what happened and more about how we let it happen and how to restore confidence that, if we give our money to these institutions (whether as taxpayers or investors), it won’t just go right back down the drain. According to the article, and contrary to conventional wisdom, every recession or depression is different. We are pretty good at learning what went wrong in the past and typically avoid the same mistakes. Instead we need to look at what was different this time:
Diversification of businesses and investments
Objective, mathematical measures of performance
As good as those two things sound, the author makes a good case that we pursued these virtues way to far. They led us away from simple, understandable business models and concrete understanding to a point where almost nobody understood what the hell was happening.
The Article is long, and that’s a good thing. It’s both an explanation of the trend towards hyper-analytical statistics in pro sports, and a piece on Battier. Should be interesting if you are into statistics or into sports. It’s also well written, and ties everything together nicely since Battier is a player that is both cerebral enough to make use of these new stats, and is also vindicated by them in a lot of ways.
Filed under: General by Joel @ 01:01 - February 13th, 2009
Just yesterday, ben and I were just talking about the upside to a recession: it forces everybody to figure out what they’re doing that really matters and/or what is really worth doing. Seems like now would be the time for half baked schemes like Microsoft launching a bunch of brick and mortar retail locations to get cut. Maybe they’ve got some really awesome strategy that I don’t get (I mean somebody from dreamworks is heading it up!). Probably not though.
Filed under: General by Joel @ 03:56 - February 1st, 2009
Until I read this article over at reason, I would have said I was in favor of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards (despite the weirdness they cause like SUVs sneaking by on separate light truck standards and manufacturers practically subsidizing their low end models to lower their averages). But it’s worth it if it raises overall fuel economy, right? The article makes the good point, though, that the standards (current and the proposed increases) raise prices on cars quite a bit, in lieu of the more direct and more efficient solution of just raising gasoline taxes. CAFE standards are popular because right now raising any taxes seems like a bad idea, and CAFE standards will, in theory, create new jobs as it forces Detroit to retool. Sounds nice, but will increasing car prices by a few grand really help Detroit hire more workers or will it just reduce demand?
Filed under: General by Joel @ 01:39 - January 31st, 2009
Nexus friend grapher is an app that uses the facebook api to analyze and map your network of friends. It’s amazing how quickly you can see the structure in a social network, the different circles of friends, the extent to which they overlap, etc.
Mine is interesting, primarily in that there is not much structure. I have two main clumps: ultimate and FHS, but there is obviously a lot of overlap. I think this is due partly to being in one town for a long time, but also due to the fact that I don’t seek out or accept a lot of friend requests from family and work coleagues. Basically these are the two groups i don’t mind getting drunk with, and therefore the groups that i don’t mind seeing the drunken photos that will be all over it. I do have a hypothesis, though, that people who play a lot of ultimate will generally have more inbred looking graphs (since the community is so tight knit and kindof follows us wherever we go). Hopefully as more of my friends create their graphs I can test it. Please post a comment if you do this so I can go check yours out.
Oh and if you are not on the facebook, this is finally the excuse you needed. That, and I’ll actually know when it’s your birthday.