Last year it was the Olympics.  For a few years there have been celebrations of these early days and months of the millennium .  And I somehow I’ve frittered them all away.

Perhaps this year I should do something different.  I should partake.

A quick google search pulls up a few interesting options:

How about the World day of Interconnectedness?  I’m not exactly sure what they’re calling for, but it sounds like extra touching.

Or there’s the 090909 Festival though that’s in New Zealand – or so I can only guess by the ‘.nz’ web site.  Man it’s amazing how people manage to leave fairly vital information off their websites.

What about the Big Bear 090909 Sexual Energy Activation?  I’m not really sure what that is but it costs $595 and I think it involves sitting Indian-style (can we still call it that?).

Of course there’s the release of ‘Rock Band: The Beatles’ which I guess is somehow tied to world peace and 09-09-09 and video games and perhaps that’s been the meaning of Revolution #9 all along?

I think I’ll keep looking.

Any suggestions?

Photos from Germany posted


After a bit of a delay, I’ve finally gotten around to posting some images from my trip to Germany earlier this year.

In September, just as I accepted an offer for a new job, I took off to Germany for two weeks.  The trip started in Munich where I met up with Erica, a former coworker from my Intuit days.  Erica, Kathleen (Erica’s sister) and I then spent a few days hut-to-hut hiking in the Alps.

After an overnight train to Berlin, I met up with my father and the two of us visited some old friends throughout Germany: Eta in Berlin; Dieter in Bavaria; and Bill in Ludwigshafen.  We had a great time.

2008 Presidential election percentages

According to The New York Times, the 2008 Presidential election could have seen the highest percentage of Americans coming out to vote.

Based on early figures, about 62.5 percent of all eligible voters cast ballots, just shy of the 62.6 percent figure that was recorded in the 1964 election. But that figure will climb and almost certainly set a new record as the remaining votes are counted..

I for one am really excited to see that more and more Americans are getting out to voice their opinions on important matters facing the country.  I am hopeful that we will see significant changes in the coming years that will increase political involvement even more.

In my mind, there are three issues that really need to be addressed with American politics:

  1. This is the no-brainer: Get a more accurate vote counting mechanism in place.  If you go electric, make sure the system can’t be manipulated and insist that the company that develops the machines are willing to stand up to critical – and open – testing.
  2. Get money out of the system.  Now that we’ve seen the longest and most expensive presidential election, let’s make it the last of its kind.  Mandate that elections get funded by a general pool of money rather than donations.  Mandate that TV and Radio stations (easy for those over broadcast) donate a certain amount of time for political advertisements so that candidates can get their messages out and not have to raise money to do so.
  3. Get rid of the current electoral college.  At the very least, have each electorate vote represent its own district’s popular vote, rather than a blanket state-by-state system.  It’s no fair that Texas and California get ignored because their outcome is a given.  There are electoral votes in Texas that would go Democratic and California votes that would go republican – and they should go that way.  There are too many disenfranchised voters in the current system.

Whether these issues will be addressed in the next few years is to be seen.  Somehow I suspect not; especially with everything else (ahem.. economy) that will need to be addressed.  But I hope that somewhere in the near future we’ll see some of these issues finally getting the attention they deserve.

CNN holographic reporting

This is pretty wild.  When this originally aired I was still at work so I didn’t have the appreciation of seeing it live but if this YouTube clip survives the piracy police then enjoy.

It’s a clip from CNN where the anchor in the studio (in Atlanta, one would assume, though perhaps New York) is talking to a reporter in the field (in Chicago).  The reporter is being projected into the studio as a 3D representation (basically like a holographic image) rather than onto a video monitor.  It allows the anchor to interact more realistically with the reporter.

I guarantee this will take off.  Yes, it’s currently expensive and requires a large setup, so it’s not viable for any significant in-the-field reporting (I mean, why does the reporter need to be ‘in the field’ for this kind of report?  She could just as well be standing in the studio).  But as the technology improves it will be interesting to see how this will be implemented in other forms.

There are many examples of this kind of new technology being adapted for different uses – one of the better ones is the ‘Matrix’ effect (multiple still cameras around the subject all linked and timed to take photos for that cool avoiding bullets in slow-mo look) being used for professional sports – seeing the quarterback’s viewpoint from around the stadium is pretty cool.

I could easily see this hologram effect being used throughout the news media but think about international meetings or protected witnesses in a courtroom.  What about the medical field (think micro-cameras).  The uses of this are pretty interesting to contemplate.

Olympic torch debacle

Yesterday I took a break from work and walked down to the Embarcadero to check out the Olympic torch relay. San Francisco was repeatedly referred to as the only North American stop for the torch, and therefore, was the only opportunity for people in a wide region of the globe to show their support for or frustration with the Chinese government’s policies.

The announcement that busloads of Chinese Americans from throughout the state were being brought in to show their support for China and the protests throughout the city earlier in the week pointed towards another torch relay ripe with conflicts.

The scene along the Embarcadero definitely supported this.

There were Chinese supporters along side protesters, each delivering their messages to whomever would listen, all the while a large jumbotron and soundsystem blared images and sounds of celebrations. The anticipation in the crowd kept building as the torch-running time drew near and its crescendo
continued until – there – on the jumbotron – was the torch, being run through a completely different route throught the city.

Everyone was angry and felt deceived. Everyone.

I left feeling completely disappointed in Gavin Newsom and his decision to prioritize a successful running of the torch relay – rather than allowing all those who had gathered in the name of free speech to support their cause to fully support their ideals. The idea that the torch was sneaked through the city to an unrevealed location where it was paraded down empty streets (flanked by an incredible number of security personnel) – it’s just maddening. That is the spirit of the olympics?