Mark Vargas and John Fioretta Are What's Wrong With This Country 
Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 12:45 PM
Mark Vargas' neighbors planted some redwood trees starting in 1996. In 2001 Mr. Vargas installed solar panels, and began complaining that the already existing trees where obscuring his solar panels. In 2005 he convinced the district attorney, John Fioretta, to commence criminal prosecution against his neighbors for violating California's Solar Shade Act.

Not satisfied with merely having his neighbors criminally convicted of blighting the neighborhood with redwood tress, Mr. Vargas is now "consulting his lawyer about filing a civil suit, possibly related to the storm-drain easement." Keep up the good work, Mark.
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Apple Computer's PR Strategy 
Saturday, April 5, 2008, 03:31 PM
Apple Computer is suing the City of New York for trademark infringement. The city's new environmental campaign, called GreenNYC, uses a green apple woven out of an infinity symbol as its logo. Apple, apparently afraid that people might come to associate the company with environmental consciousness and generous support for civic projects, has decided to take the matter to court to preserve their image. Shown below are two of Apple's logos, with the city's logo on the right.



To be clear, I am not some sort of Mac Hater; I own a Mac, grew up on Macs, and love the computers -- I just hate the company and the way they do business. The company is consistently marked by arrogant disregard for anyone other than themselves (including their customers -- the iPhone $200 price drop for example), and a calm assurance that they know what you want better than you do. Take iChat for example, which refuses to allow you to create a "user info" page for when you friends click on you and press "get info." Steve Jobs says you don't want that feature even if you think you. Or the old MacBook that used to catch your pants on fire because Steve Jobs wanted a computer without a fan so very badly. What were you thinking anyways, trying to set your laptop on your lap?

Throughout the multiple iterations of its operating system, Apple has made sport of its loyal software developers, springing massive platform changes with little notice and taunting them to "keep up if you can." If you ever wonder why there's so little non-Apple software for the Mac, the answer it not simply the small market share: it's Apple's general hostility and arrogance towards its developers. Adobe just discovered first hand that loyally developing software for the Macintosh platform isn't going to get you any loyalty in return. The company just explained why the 64-bit version of Photoshop will not be available for Macintosh:
At the WWDC show last June, however, Adobe & other developers learned that Apple had decided to stop their Carbon 64 efforts. This means that 64-bit Mac apps need to be written to use Cocoa (as Lightroom is) instead of Carbon. This means that we'll need to rewrite large parts of Photoshop and its plug-ins (potentially affecting over a million lines of code) to move it from Carbon to Cocoa.

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Feelings 
Friday, April 4, 2008, 01:36 PM
A guy by the name of "Dev Corvin" knocks on blogs while explaining the purpose of his site:
This site is not, however, a "blog" as seems to be popular these days. This site shall not be an outlet for ramblings about my life or my feelings, it will purely be for original, on-topic content.

He also has an interesting look into Microsoft's next version of Windows (via Slashdot).
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We're All Going to Die 
Saturday, March 29, 2008, 10:03 AM
The NYT reports that two men filed lawsuit in a Hawaii courtroom to prevent a European NGO from operating a large particle accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider, outside of Geneva. Aside from the obvious lack of jurisdiction, what makes this so hilarious you ask? The men are afraid that activation of the device will create a black hole that will swallow up the Earth.

Interestingly enough, scientists have actually taken the time and money to perform several studies that disprove this theory.
Dr. Arkani-Hamed said concerning worries about the death of the Earth or universe, “Neither has any merit.” He pointed out that because of the dice-throwing nature of quantum physics, there was some probability of almost anything happening. There is some minuscule probability, he said, "the Large Hadron Collider might make dragons that might eat us up."

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Think of the Children! 
Friday, March 28, 2008, 02:36 PM
From a study in the UK looking at the risks to children from exposure to potentially harmful or inappropriate material on the internet and in video games, some surprisingly clear-headed conclusions in the executive summary:
Children and young people need to be empowered to keep themselves safe – this isn’t just about a top-down approach. Children will be children – pushing boundaries and taking risks. At a public swimming pool we have gates, put up signs, have lifeguards and shallow ends, but we also teach children how to swim.

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Where's Mr. Greenspan? 
Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 11:14 AM
Bernanke may be the one feeling the heat to fix the current woes of the financial system, but some critics say that the trouble fomented under the reign of the much-celebrated Alan Greenspan. The Economist notes:
Alan Greenspan, formerly chairman of the Federal Reserve, said in 2005 that “increasingly complex financial instruments have contributed to the development of a far more flexible, efficient, and hence resilient financial system than the one that existed just a quarter-century ago.” Tell that to Bear Stearns, Wall Street's fifth-largest investment bank, the most spectacular corporate casualty so far of the credit crisis.

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For Want of Rice 
Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 10:17 AM
A facinating article from the British magazine The Economist, discusses the looming shortage of rice in Asia. The prospect of many who have just escaped poverty being pushed back under because of a food shortage is not helping to stabilize a region with many unstable governments.
Robert Zeigler of the International Rice Research Institute, one of the driving forces behind Asia’s 1960s “green revolution” in farming, says that governments are now reaping the results of years of neglecting agricultural research, irrigation and other means to aid farmers. They have lost much prime land, water supplies and labour in the rush to industrialise.
...
The region needs a new green revolution, especially if it wants to avoid revolutions of the blood-stained variety.

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Presidential Race Madlib 
Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 06:48 PM
If you're into Madlibs, then I have one for you. It's an implementation of of a Swampland creation by Ana Marie Cox.
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Effort and Such 
Sunday, March 23, 2008, 04:58 PM
From the song Champagne Supernova:
Where were you when we were getting high?


I was studying, damnit. And yet somehow this pot smoker is making millions more than I ever will.
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Free Lunch 
Saturday, March 1, 2008, 01:44 AM
According to the NYT (no longer reliable post-McCain story, but still my most common read), the subsidized school lunch program was initiated in 1946 after many Army recruits for WWII were found to be malnourished.

Wow.
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