Thursday, January 27, 2005

My boss got mugged!!! - (REVISITED)

The wallet was found...all is good now. We still need to be more cautious in our new environs.

Plastic-tube beasts wandering around on beaches

I was directed to this cool page today - strandbeest - once on the word film below the first image and view the various films on Theo Jansen's work.
Since about ten years Theo Jansen is occupied with the making of a new nature. Not pollen or seeds but plastic yellow tubes are used as the basic matierial of this new nature. He makes skeletons which are able to walk on the wind. Eventualy he wants to put these animals out in herds on the beaches, so they will live their own lives.
Can you picture these walking around the playa at BM?

Update - here's an article on Theo.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

My boss got mugged!!!

It had to happen eventually. We recently moved our office from up on the hill, nuzzled amongst beautiful redwood trees, 2 story buildings housing venture capitalists and darting squirrels, down to the evil, dark metropolis of downtown Palo Alto.

While coming back from lunch, some kids accidentally bump into my boss, apologize and move on. She arrives on our floor and states very quickly, "my wallet was stolen...I think someone stole my wallet." She checks her backpack and sure enough...the wallet is missing. We ask if she remembers what they look like and where they ran off to...her response...they are right around the corner.

Three of us jump to action (okay...we put on coats and one of us had to slip some shoes back on) and head down the back steps in search of the culprits. We circle the hoodlums in sight. Next, we decided to check out Blockbuster (hey...where else would they run to, right?). While walking in, this annoying girl shoves something in our face, spouting off about "top 20 this or that" and is very loud and obnoxious. We move past her look around, exit and go up the alley behind our office and still hoodlums. Oddly enough, loud girl circled around the other way and is back this time yelling more and with her friends. I mention that we went looking for hoodlums and all we find are stupid gypsies (they looked like, dressed like, and sounded like them).

While heading back up the stairs, gypsy-girl mentions to my co-worker that he has a nice shirt...where can she get one for her boyfriend? Reply: in the Haight in SF. Response: that's too far for me to go. We continue back up the stairs. In the office, we see that the cops have arrived and our interviewing my boss; and within 5 minutes, they apprehend the 3 that did the deed...yep, you guessed it...the gypsies.

Unfortunately, her wallet was not recovered. What we learned today: be careful in the *big* city and stay away from gypsies...

Friday, January 21, 2005

We're all gonna die!!!

Last night, I went to an Aurora Forum event - Nature's Economy: Population, Consumption and Sustainability. And heard Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich interviewed by Gretchen Daily. The Ehrlichs are winners of the Tyler Prize (Nobel equivalent for Environmentalism). Previous winners include: Jared Diamond, Jane Goodall, C. Everett Koop. Not bad company, huh?

The Ehrlich's (with Dr. Daily) have a history of writing about populations (being too high) and the discussion revolved around how we need to reduce the world population (they think to 1.5 billion humans) and consume less (of all our resources) so that humanity can sustain itself forever. How we can get to a population of 1.5 billion (and lose 4.5 billion people along the way) was not discussed or asked. (Damn...that would have made a good question, huh?)

What I learned:
* An increasing amount of economists are working alongside ecologists (this is good)
* Politicians have not yet grasped the concept of consumption (this is not good)
* The majority of economists agree: taxing carbon is the best way to deal with pollution (meaning gas should be $5 a gallon in the in Europe...and the taxes should initially pay for the unemployment that higher gas prices will cause)
* Carbon trading is key and US multi-nationals can take advantage of it (Kyoto Protocol - I agree...even if it's impossible for the US to meet the targets, we should at least be trying)
* The quickest way for us to deal with energy is conservation (turn your damn monitors off!)
* We use something like 12kw per person per year in this country, yet we could get by on 3kw, if we were smart about usage (turn your lights off too!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Soylent Green

I came home tonight and popped in my latest flick from Netflix...Soylent Green. I heard about it years and years ago and finally took the time to watch it.

Recap (but not to spoil it, should anyone follow my lead and rent it themselves): location - NYC; year - 2022; population - 40 million; unemployment is at 50%; food is limited; hot water is a luxury; a jar of strawberries costs $150; sleeping bodies cover all available stairways at night. Our gun-toting hero, Charlon Heston, plays the lead as Det. Robert Thorn, woos a lady (while thieving from her dead boss); investigates the death of said boss; and in the end, uncovers the deep, dark secret of the Soylent Corporation (the world's largest food corporation): soylent green is made from ______. Okay, if you are a fan of random trivia, you can probably fill in the blank.

Thoughts: sci fi has come a long way.; the environmentalists took the idea of overpopulation to the extreme; and movies are a lot better these days.

Back to West Wing...

Monday, January 17, 2005

Read read read

Yep...I spent the Holiday reading...finished up The Rule of Four, and then read Introducing Sartre.

I had been eyeing The Rule of Four ever since reading The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. Got it for Xmas, and took the long weekend to tackle it. It gets a thumbs up from me...though the end is reminiscent of my problems with the Deat Poet's Society. To the protagonist...all I can say is, "tough get on with your life, you sorry piss of shit." Bad/sad things happen to lots of people, how come characters in books seem so weak and can't move on like everyone else in the world?

Introducing Sartre was my first stab at looking at existentialism. Boy was he a pessimistic guy. Don't think that he and I would have spoken much at the local coffee shop had we crossed paths. (Okay...he died when I was 10, so highly unlikely.) And I have to agree with d'Estaing that Sartre would never have been able to write what he wrote had he been born into and lived in a true Socialistic/Marxist society that he idolized. Funny how he (and others like him) never moved to these *promised* lands.

I need to finish The Confusion (> halfway complete) and then The System of the World before I tackle another philosopher.