Saturday, July 28, 2007

iBike WW29 (1) (2)

Double the bang for your buck, two biking posts in one.

Last Sunday was Da Vinci Days, and we took part in the festivities by watching the mud bog portion of the kinetic sculpture race, and walking around the main area checking out the booths. Fun was had by all (Tom, Mary, Simone and me). Mary and I rode our bikes (Simone jogged alongside), and I'm sure we rode at least half an hour.

Today, Simone and I took a nice long ride toward Oak Creek on the single speed. We rode around some of the neighborhoods out there - neat houses and yards. Simone napped for over half an hour (probably a little bored). Stats for the ride: 1h50min, average speed just over 10mph, for a total of nearly 18.5 miles.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sleep and Jogging

I went for a jog last night with Simone. She decided it was her turn to ride in the Burley and I had to push her, so it was to be.

As she's not much of a talker, and I have trouble breathing, let alone talking, while running, I usually listen to my MP3 player. Last night's selection was an
episode of Radio Lab on sleep. A fascinating listen I must say. Did you know that birds, aquatic mammals and reptiles can put half of their brain to sleep at a time? Imagine 4 ducks sleeping on a log, the two in the middle sleep with both eyes closed, the ones on the ends sleep with one eye open, and after a chunk of time, the ones on the end stand up, turn around, and sleep with the other eye open.

I highly recommend giving it a listen. Radiolab in general does interesting stories and mixes the stories in a very unique and interesting way.


Bad news for my grand kids (or perhaps their kids).

July 16, 1862: This Comet Has
Earth Written All Over It

Don't forget to duck come August 14th, 2126.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

iBike WW29 (1)

Another Simone ride. We kind of perused around the outskirts of town today, going over the hill by the country club, then back along the duck pond, out the midge cramer trail to oak creek and back. Simone slept for 45 minutes, and if she hadn't woken up when she did, we would have gone over Witham hill too.

Time: 1h15min

Monday, July 16, 2007

Smart Simone

Wanna know how smart Simone is?

She made a meta-rattle the other day and played with it.

And you probably don't even know what one is...

(a rattle made from another rattle)

iBike WW28 (1)

Last Saturday was another ride to the market with Simone, though we took the longer route (via Walnut) to get there. We picked up some berries to eat and played in the fountain - which she loved. A nice day all in all.

Ride stats: time: 55min, distance ?

Innovation at Risk

I've had many a discussion with friends about patents (specifically whether or not they should be applied to software). Here's an interesting book that's about to come out that looks at patents from an economic point of view - basically, are they adding to our economy or dragging it down.

Innovation at Risk

Three chapters are available on-line. The first is the introduction (worth reading), and I imagine that I should read the ninth so I can win the next debate.

Popcorn prices popping up

The demand for ethanol is forcing up prices for ice cream (b/c dairy herds are fed corn), and popcorn. Ethanol demand sends corn prices popping

Of course, nobody seemed to care when Mexico complained their tortilla prices went up...

But rising food prices kind of misses the point. We now spend less than half of our disposable income on food than we did 75 years ago. The other day I saw an ad for meat at Safeway and beef was selling for $1.50 a pound. That's simply ridiculously cheap. It takes 10 times the energy and resources to grow a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of produce, yet I can buy it for less than much of the fresh fruit at the store. Between 50% and 70% of the total cost of a beef cow is feed cost, and since most of the beef in the US is finished with corn, the price of corn will have a definite impact on the price we see at the store.

Needless to say, corn-fed beef isn't as healthy for you as grass-fed beef (higher CLA and Omega-3 fatty acids). Corn-fed beef have much higher of bacteria in their guts - requiring them to be fed antibiotics.

Anyway, considering the health impact of beef in general, and the environmental impact of growing beef (corn is a very petroleum-heavy food b/c of pesticides and fertilizer), I'd be happy if beef costs were higher in the store - something more along the line of the cost of fish ($7-$15 a pound).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

iBike WW27 (1)

Simone and I rode downtown to pick up some fish for dinner. Beautiful sunny day, nice gentle ride. While downtown, we walked through the farmer's market and into the post office and that kind of thing. Simone got most excited when she saw the water fountain on the waterfront.

It's one of those fountains that is flush with the ground and has about two dozen water jets that shoot straight up. They turn on and off in different patterns and with different heights, and the kids love it. Simone started by just walking in the water that was draining off the side. Then she decided to go check out one of the spouts. After that she was shrieking like all the other kids, putting her hands into the spouts of water and walking from spout to spout. Lots of fun. She got to ride home in just her diaper because her clothes were soaked.

You can check the water fountain out here.

Friday, July 06, 2007



That's Simone's first word. When the timer on the stove goes off, Mary and I often echo "beep" every time it does. Simone has picked up on that and she says, "beep" now.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Learning to Walk

It's fun watching Simone starting to learn to walk. She's at the point where she sometimes tries walking while only holding on with one of her hands in yours, with the other one either free floating or holding onto the couch/chair.

One thing I've noticed is she seems to exhibit the kind of behaviors I remember when I first learned to rock climb. You get to a point where you're too tired to do anything but hold on, and you get scared b/c you need to move, but you can't. There's also the obvious problem of keeping your weight over your feet - same thing in both climbing and learning to walk. And there's always the fear of falling, even though you know it won't hurt (b/c you're either 2 inches off the ground, or you're tied in).

Uber-cool reusable water bottle

So there's this guy in NYC who's trying to live w/no impact on the environment. Pretty ambitious goal, and he's taking his wife and kid along with him.

His latest post reminded me about an issue that bothers me a fair amount, bottled water. A bunch of friends of mine drink bottled water, and it's just wasteful. Anyway, I liked this guy's water bottle:

No Impact Man: My ultra cool reusable water bottle

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Democrat versus Republican pardons

Like everyone right now, I have an opinion on W's commuting of Scooter Libby's jail sentence.

Of course Bush has the power to do that, he could commute the sentences of (or pardon outright) everyone in the jails, but that's not the point.

In general, the controversial pardons by Democrats appear to be different than the ones by Republicans. Bush Sr. pardoned folks involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, Bush Jr. pardons (well, commuted the sentence) someone in his administration involved in outing CIA agents, Ford pardons Nixon. Clinton, on the other hand, pardons rich folks who gave money to Democrats, and Carter pardoned Vietnam vets. Of recent presidents, only Reagan appears to not have had too controversial of pardons.

What's the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans? The Republicans all pardoned folks working for the Executive branch. That just seems like plain corruption to me. Republicans can get away with breaking laws when a Republican is president. There's no accountability. So the president (or vice-president) can have folks do shady deals, and the people doing them don't have to worry about being caught because they know they can get pardoned.

There's always going to be controversy over pardons, I'm not arguing the Democrats have only pardoned angels. I'm just saying that Republican presidents pardon people in the Executive branch, and that smacks of corruption to the core.

Not that I needed the Libby decision to show me that W is corrupt.

Twinkle Twinkle

It turns out, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is the magic song that helps Simone stop crying. I don't know how Mary figured it out, but it works almost all the time. For example, last night Simone was having a little trouble staying asleep (really tired, but waking up periodically). She woke up really angry and I went in to check on her. As soon as I got to the line "how I wonder..." she'd stopped crying.

I'm sure the song will lose its magic soon and I'll have to resort to actual parenting, but it's pretty cute how she responds.