March 20, 2007

skywalk open to VIPs today

grand canyon skywalk

more on the grand canyon skywalk -- open today to VIPs like former astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.
"I felt wonderful, not exactly floating on air ... but a vision of hope for the future," [Aldrin] said afterwards, quoted by Reuters news agency.

The BBC's Andy Gallacher, who also went on the Skywalk, says the glass beneath his feet was so clear it was like walking on a cloud.

March 19, 2007

War Room

If Tim Grieve or anyone at Salon happens upon this and wants me to take it down, just let me know. I'm ripping this straight from Salon's War Room. I feel the need to (a) take note of the anniversary that just passed, (b) document it for myself (since that's really all this blog is for), and (c) put it out there for anyone who might stop by.

Four years, five speeches

George W. Bush has delivered four Iraq war anniversary speeches now -- five if you count the one he gave as war began on March 19, 2003 -- and looking back through them gives a pretty good indication of how far we've come. More than $400 billion and 3,200 dead American soldiers later, we've traded a relatively nonexistent threat from a "tyrant" for a nightmare scenario in which terrorists control the Middle East and use Iraq as a "safe haven" for another 9/11-style attack on the United States.

But don't take our word for it. Here's George W. Bush over the years, annotated with a few relevant reports from today's news:

Bush, March 19, 2003: "My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger ... The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities. Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory."

Today's news: "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday staunchly defended going to war in Iraq, but acknowledged the Bush administration likely erred by failing initially to send enough troops to quell the civil strife that followed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."

March 19, 2004: "One year ago, military forces of a strong coalition entered Iraq to enforce United Nations demands, to defend our security, and to liberate that country from the rule of a tyrant ... There have been disagreements in this matter, among old and valued friends. Those differences belong to the past. All of us can now agree that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression, and instability in the Middle East ... There are still violent thugs and murderers in Iraq, and we're dealing with them. But no one can argue that the Iraqi people would be better off with the thugs and murderers back in the palaces. Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open? Who would wish that more mass graves were still being filled? Who would begrudge the Iraqi people their long-awaited liberation?"

Today's news: "Fewer than half [of Iraqis], 42 percent, said that life in Iraq now is better than it was under Saddam Hussein, the late dictator accused of murdering tens of thousands during a brutal regime."

Bush, March 19, 2005: "On this day two years ago, we launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to ... Today the Iraqi people are taking charge of their own destiny ... Free governments reflect the culture of the citizens they serve, and that is happening in Iraq. Today, Iraqis can take pride in building a government that answers to its people and honors their country's unique heritage."

Today's news: "The United Nations estimates that about two million Iraqis have been displaced since the invasion. Many have gone to Syria or Jordan. Among those fleeing are Iraq's intellectual and professional elite ... There is frustration with the slow pace of reconstruction, which has been paralyzed by the lack of security, leaving electricity, water, fuel and other basic services in short supply."

Bush, March 19, 2006: "Today ... marks the third anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Iraq. And it's a time to reflect. And this morning, our reflections were upon the sacrifices of the men and women who wear our uniform. ... We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq. And a victory in Iraq will make this country more secure, and will help lay the foundation of peace for generations to come."

Today's news: "Bush noted that his so-called surge of additional troops to Baghdad and the troubled Anwar province is 'still in its early stages,' and acknowledged that 'success will take months, not days or weeks.'"

Bush, March 19, 2007: "Four years ago today, coalition forces launched Operation Iraqi Freedom to remove Saddam Hussein from power. They did so to eliminate the threat his regime posed to the Middle East and to the world ... It can be tempting to look at the challenges in Iraq and conclude our best option is to pack up and go home. That may be satisfying in the short run, but I believe the consequences for American security would be devastating. If American forces were to step back from Baghdad before it is more secure, a contagion of violence could spill out across the entire country. In time, this violence could engulf the region. The terrorists could emerge from the chaos with a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they had in Afghanistan, which they used to plan the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. For the safety of the American people, we cannot allow this to happen."

Tim Grieve
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The President has asked for our "patience," but I'm not sure how much more I have.
3,200+ US soldiers dead.
24,000+ US soldiers wounded.
60,000+ Iraqis dead.

March 16, 2007

Time-suck of the day: monkey kick off

a few fun time-wasters at i've only tried Monkey Kick Off, but boy-oh-boy is it addictive. so far, my personal best is 4,918 meters.

consider yourself challenged!

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engineering marvel or collasal eyesore?

Must go back to the Grand Canyon! Open to the public on March 28.

Not everyone is thrilled with the development.

Personally, this sounds like my cup of tea!
Skywalk compared to the largest skyscrapers in the world.

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Like Basecamp? Here comes Highrise!

Highrise contact management

I am really really really looking forward to Highrise. (all those links are to the 37signals blog where they preview the upcoming release.)

As others have noted, 37signals really has a great thing going. They pump out great products that make their lives easier, and then they get to sell them to their rabid fans. Very smart.

I wonder if they'll provide a way to integrate with Basecamp (and their other products)?

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March 14, 2007

blogging with flock

this is just a test, so don't be surprised if it goes missing soon.

just downloaded the latest version of flock, and decided to try out its integrated blogging feature. so far, so good, and incredibly easy. let's see if i can truly just drag a photo from flickr in here...

hmm, that was easy. and it even linked to the photo page at flickr. cool.
ain't she cute?  :)

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March 8, 2007

Help Tha Police

From a BBC3 show called Rush Hour... this dad plays his young son Fuck Tha Police with some creative live censorship.

Having lots of fun cuz I'm a teenager
with a little bit of gold and a pager.

Searching my car, looking for the biscuits
thinking every chap is selling bits of chocolate.

fun geography quizzes

name the united nations in 10 minutes (there are 192, and god help you if you're a poor speller)

name the countries of the world in 10 minutes (same deal... 245 total)

name the 50 states in 15 minutes. no link, i just used excel. i've seen this blogged a few times and figured i'd try it. got all 50 in just under 10 minutes, but spent 2-3 minutes trying to remember the one i was leaving out... i'll give you a hint, it starts with a C and ends with an O.

good luck!

go "social exploring" in nyc & la

shamelessly stolen from, the must-see link of the day is Social Explorer.

An old proverb says that "a picture is worth a thousand words." In the case of data maps this is literally true. Data maps are made of thousands of numbers presented as a picture.
it's fun to see these cities grow and change, but the really interesting bit is creating slideshows. they've created a few to get you started:

New York City:
% White 1910-2000
% Black 1910-2000

Los Angeles:
% White 1940-2000
% Black 1940-2000
% Hispanic 1940-2000

hit the play button and watch the african-american community start as a little speck otherwise known as harlem and spread into brooklyn and queens. also of note, specific data on asians, hispanics, and native americans starts in 1980. pre-1980 you only get black, white, and "other".

it depends on what your definition of "is" is...

favorite headline of the day:

Gingrich Had Affair During Clinton Probe

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

[twitter] where have all the @ messages gone?

i just sent this to the twitter help email. i wonder if anyone else has noticed... damn you, scoble!

i like the new functionality of including the "in reply to" links. however, i use an @-prefix for info directed at a specific person but that i want to share with *all* my friends, not just that one user.

i realize that with users like scoble who have almost a thousand contacts that this gets out of hand. but what about those of us with less than 50??

i liked that there was a difference between using "D" for direct message and simply calling attention to someone with "@".

please bring @ posts back to the main stream, or make it an option we can choose per user. i will gladly skip the endless stream of scoble's @messages, but i want to be able to follow the conversations between my closer friends on twitter.

hillary / quepol

March 2, 2007

In-N-Out burgers are delicious!

Helen Mirren chowing on a burger
And Helen Mirren agrees.

I had never eaten In-N-Out until I moved to SF. But holy smokes their burgers are yummy. Not to mention the fact that the closest one to our house is right next door to a Krispy Kreme.

Hot Now!!!!!