Monday, December 20, 2004

Are rabbits potty-trained?

My housemate owns a white-haired, pink-eyed, floppy-eared rabbit named Princess. She lives in a cage in the garage, but most nights, we allow her to romp around the kitchen: for exercise, carrot/salad eating and box destroying (she loves to chew up and eat cardboard). This has been going on for well over 3 months now. Sometimes, she'll be there for 8 or 9 hours (on a weekend). What surprises me the most is that she has yet to go to the bathroom in the kitchen. She will only do this in her cage. Does anyone know about the bathroom habits of this specis of rodent?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

To School or not To School

Okay, so I'm thinking of taking some night classes and Stanford has a Master's program in Liberal Arts that seems to be to my liking. In January, I may take a course in Capitalism or Morals. This will most likely mean that I won't be playing vball next season. Also, if I went forward and applied, I wouldn't enter the program until the Fall of 2006, and it would require me to be in SF for another 4 years, so this may be a big stretch. But in the meantime, the courses should be a good diversion and stretch of my right brain.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Cute to look at...just don't put them in your mouth

Over the weekend, I was hiking in Big Basin with a friend...a nice long 12-mile jaunt through the redwood groves. It was wet from the recent rains, and this made for some interesting sights...newts everywhere. They were on the trails, next to the trails and soon enough we had the cute little buggers crawling on our hands. While watching them mosy about, we wondered aloud, "Why are they so slow? What predators do they have? They must taste bad, cause it sure is easy to find them."

Once home, I googled "salamander california woods" and quickly came across the taricha family of newts and learned that we had spotted the Coast Range Newt. After one sentence, my eyes were drawn to the red text in the second paragraph:
Warning The skin secretions of the newts of the genus Taricha contain toxins similar to those found in pufferfish liver. These are among the deadliest natural toxins yet discovered. A healthy adult human will die from eating just one newt. Care should be taken to wash hands thoroughly after handling newts

Yikes!!! We were going to die? (We shall see.) Did we really eat our lunch with our hands only minutes after handling those pokey fellows? (Yes.) What were we thinking? (We weren't.)

We forgot one big lesson from life. If something in nature is brightly-colored, that typically means...HELLO, IF YOU EAT ME, YOU WILL DIE. Luckily, neither of us did. Later I discovered that these specific newts aren't all that toxic, so my fears were unwarranted. My comment/advice on newts: yes, they are cute to look at...just don't put them in your mouth.

Friday, December 10, 2004

A trip into the past...

While pushing some book-containing crates into the reading room, my eyes were drawn to a tome entitled, "Think Tanks", and I thought to myself...hey...that's US! I lifted the cover and dove in to see the print date and noted that it was 1971. Hmmm...could we be in here? Soon, I discovered that we were...a solid 13 pages of coverage!

The section begins with an excerpt from a scenario of the technological world of 1985, conducted for the state of Connecticut in September 1969. Artificial organs (hearts with power sources that last five years) and anti-contraceptive pill and detection systems to combat surreptitious contraception (new warfare: biological and chemical weapons) are discussed.

Next an overview and excerpt from the original prospectus of IFTF's roots and founding philosophy:
The idea for the Institute...arises from a change in attitude toward the future. The fatalistic view that it is unforeseeable and inevitable is being abandoned. It is being recognized that there are a multitude of possible futures and that appropriate intervention can make a difference in their probabilities. This raises the exploration of the future, and the search for ways to influence its direction, to activities of great social responsibility.

The responsibility is not just an academic one, and to discharge it more than perfunctorily we must cease to be mere spectators in our own on-going history, and participate with determination in molding the future. It will take wisdom, courage and sensitivity to human values to shape a better world. Now is the time to commit ourselves fully to the problems of the future of our society. The proposed Institute would constitute a key step in getting on with this urgent task.

One hundred candidate actions for the state of Connecticut were suggested. Some include:
* Build a bridge to Long Island
* Remove all highway and bridge tolls
* Teach birth control in the public high schools
* Require registration of firearms
* Make drug use a noncriminal act
* Provide free college for all students

Another study outlined is a projection of the future of employee benefits in the nation over the next fifteen years. Some results:
* Employers now dispense half of their payroll in benefits
* The average work week is now down to about thirty-five hours
* Pension plans can be transferred between jobs

Other research topics that we pursued:
* A look at the future environment for education in America
* An inquiry into people's use of time and its consequences both now and in the future
* A long-range future of the cities
* The future of economically retarded nations

Finally, a bio of our President at the time, Olaf Helmer, is given. "Helmer is a tall, imposing man who would rather talk about futurism in general and its promises than about the institute itself."

We seemed to be very left-facing back then, however, it being the late 60s/early 70s, this isn't too surprising. The one interesting thing was that funding for these endeavors was never mentioned. I think it's pretty easy to recommend things that need/should be changed...but somewhere in the equation money always raises its ugly head.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Boring night...

Last night, I went to Churchill Club's most recent event...Making a List: What's Hot and What's Not in Personal Technology. I can sum it up in one word: BORING. The whole time, all I wanted to do was go home. Sure, there was one celebrity up there, Jerry Yang, the founder of Yahoo!. But no one was prepared; the presenters didn't know how to use the display; they kept waving the devices around while they spoke instead of keeping still. Sure there were some funny putdowns and sexual innuendos, but they weren't good enough to make up for that fact that it was BORING.

I think I know why I was bored though. I am NOT a gadget freak...never have been, never will be. I own a cell phone, a couple of TVs and a couple of DVD players. But, I do not possess the following: camera, digital camera, USB memory stick, big stereo, big speakers, TIVO, home computer (the old one died), no palm pilot (dropped mine almost 3 years ago), and no IPod.

Is this sad? I don't think so. What do I do instead? Well...I ditched runs to Blockbuster in favor of Netflix...if that counts as *gadgety*. At some point I may get an IPod, but listening to Limbik Frequencies (Ambient stream on I-Tunes) suits me fine at work, as does NPR on the road. The girl wants an HDTV...and I can understand that; one of those will be in our future. But nothing else really *jazzes* me. I guess that means I save a lot of money, huh?

Great Place to Work presentation

Last week, I sat in on a presentation given by Amy Lyman, President/Founder of the Great Place to Work Institute.

They are the organization behind Fortune's annual "100 Best Companies to Work for" edition. Amy reviewed with us the five dimensions that make a great place to work: credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie. The first three are subsets of TRUST, which makes up the bulk of the scoring when companies are ranked. It was interesting to hear that fairness is always the hardest one to achieve in an organization. This makes sense...because no matter what management says, there always seems to be managers who will play favorites.

If you work at a lousy company...have a look into what the GPTW Institute does and get it into the hands of your management team. If they *get it* and implement, then you'll be a much happier person at work.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Office

I've been watching The Office, Season 1 (thank you Netflix!!!) and have to say it's one of the best comedies I have ever seen. Though hard to understand at time (the accents...not sure why I didn't see if there were subtitles), it definitely keeps your attention. I'm looking forward to Season 2, and then the 2 hour special. Ricky Gervais (the writer and lead in Season 1) is a genius. Anyone know what he is up to these days?

I watched some episodes of Coupling a few months back and they were just as good. What is up with American TV...why can't it be as original? Perhaps when the reality craze wanes, it will improve. Yeah, right...