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Wednesday, February 28, 2007
 GeoBirds and Google Maps 
If you've wonder which birds are located in your neighborhood, check out the GeoBirds/Google Maps mashup that displays a list of birds for areas within the map extent.

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 Stewart Brand embraces nuclear energy 
The publisher of the Whole Earth Catalog, one of the founders of the online community the Well, author of How Buildings Learn, Stewart Brand is now embracing nuclear energy.
“There were legitimate reasons to worry about nuclear power, but now that we know about the threat of climate change, we have to put the risks in perspective,” he says. “Sure, nuclear waste is a problem, but the great thing about it is you know where it is and you can guard it. The bad thing about coal waste is that you don’t know where it is and you don’t know what it’s doing. The carbon dioxide is in everybody’s atmosphere.”
His thinking about containing nuclear waste for thousands of years is likely influenced by his work on the Clock of the Long Now, which is being created to keep time for 10,000 years.

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Monday, February 26, 2007
 And I thought Iraq was not going well. 
The war in Afghanastan and the hunt for Osama is going about as well as the Russian occupation, with some of the same fighters that we funded to help defeat the Russians now doing the same to us. In the Salon article Watching Afghanistan fall, conditions don't sound good:
But the troops in Nuristan have also suffered from sheer isolation and the topography of the Hindu Kush. At Lybert (altitude 6,500 feet), the 3-71's Charlie Company had gone 70 days without a hot shower or a hot meal. They have sustained deaths and injuries from hiking and falling. Soldiers who have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan before said their current living conditions are much worse. "Leadership doesn't care about us," said one officer, who requested that his name be withheld to avoid punishment for his comments. "We've gone on mission after mission after mission where we've gone black [run out] on food and water. They tell us, 'Pack light, your mission will only be four days tops.' But then we end up stuck on a mountaintop for two weeks. We didn't have anything, not even tents. If you can't get us off a mountain, don't put us on there."

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Saturday, February 24, 2007
 The Clash: Westway to the World 
The Clash were a great band. The documentary The Clash: Westway to the World was produced in 1981. It reminds how much I liked them in the late 70's, early 80's. I loved the sprawling nature of Sandanista! London Calling is a great album. This is a good documentary.

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Friday, February 23, 2007
 Dog tag 

My bicycle dog tag was lying next to the computer the other day as they sun came out, creating this image.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
 Tour of California 
Levi Leipheimer holds the leader's jersey of the Tour of California after winning the prologue and placing well in Stages 1 and 2. Dave Zabriskie crashed in Stage 1 and was forced to withdraw. Levi rides for the Discovery Team, but they'll have to find a new sponsor next year.

Today's Stage 3 is from Stockton to San Jose.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
 Google Maps with Metro stations and buildings 
In DC Google Maps now has images of the buildings in the central part of DC along with Metro station icons. It's amazing what a company like Google can accomplish with lots of smart people and money. You can perhaps see in the image on the left that at 8th St the building images go away (if not, click on the image and zoom within Google Maps). That's one nice thing about the web; you can always start small and build over time.

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 Rain on Snow 
It's raining now. With luck it will melt some of the hard-packed snow that's been on the ground since this time last week. While it's been possible to ride on most of the roads, I haven't had the bike out since the snow fell. It's depressing. Usually the local paved trail is plowed but this time it's still snow-covered, probably due to the heaviness of the snow. We've resorted to driving our big American car to the mall and walking laps amidst the shoppers. As I said, it's depressing.

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 How doctors make decisions about patients 
There's a good New Yorker article entitled What's the Trouble: How Doctors Think.
In 1979, he decided to become a doctor, and, as a medical student, he was surprised at how little attention was paid to what he calls the “cognitive dimension” of clinical decision-making—the process by which doctors interpret their patients’ symptoms and weigh test results in order to arrive at a diagnosis and a plan of treatment.

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Friday, February 16, 2007
 IE 7 woes 
I've avoided upgrading to Internet Explorer 7 for a while. The only time I use the browser is for working remotely on a county site, and to download Windows updates. I tried downloading the updates with IE 6 and couldn't. I suppose it's another way for Microsoft to force behavior upon their users. Anyway, I finally downloaded the setup file and started to install it. At the start users are warned to backup their systems. I took their advice, and was glad I did.

Once I installed IE 7 I fired it up and nothing. First the program froze and I had to kill it using the Task Manager. After a while it would at least allow me to use the Tool menu to inspect the settings and I could close the program, but I couldn't navigate to any websites. Since Firefox worked fine, this wasn't so bad. However, now Google Earth wouldn't allow me to log on to their servers to use GE Plus. GE must depend on the state of IE, and now it would lock up.

I searched the web and found the sad tales of the many people who have downloaded IE 7 and and similar problems. I tried the many solutions were proposed to no avail. I tried unintalling IE 7 and installing IE 6. This didn't work because "a newer version of the browser was found". One of the common problems seems to be related to add-ons, such as search toolbars like Google Toolbar. This is from the IE 7 Release Notes:
These Release Notes give you information about installing Internet Explorer® 7 and contain information about known issues and possible workarounds for those issues... If you are having problems with Internet Explorer 7 hanging, crashing, silently closing or other bizarre behavior, an incompatible toolbar or other add-on maybe involved. The fastest way to determine if an add-on is causing the problem is to run Internet Explorer 7 with no add-ons. You can do this by going to Start, clicking All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools and click Internet Explorer (No add-ons).

I had tried running the program without add-ons before, but dutifully tried again using the above method and it worked. And now Google Earth is working. I'm not holding my breath however. Since the upgrade many strange things have been happening, desktop icons disappearing, programs hanging for no reason, etc. I was close to formatting the disk and restoring the recent backup; it hasn't come to that yet, but I suspect the saga will continue for a while.

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 Lily Allen 
I was captivated by this photo of Lily Allen in the Post Weekend section. I know nothing about her.

It's been a cold, icy week; not a good time for bike commuting. The roads are probably OK but they are narrow and so I've been taking a rest from the bike for a while. It's time to get out the indoor trainer, maybe later today. The business at the bike shop is slow and the bikes are inside and we're tripping over each other. At least the sun is shining. Time for a walk.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
 Brain drain/gain 
CoolTown Studios posted an interesting map of counties showing where college-educated adults are decreasing and increasing. The areas gaining are in the mountains of the east and west, along the coasts, in the south, and other pockets of interesting places. This trend will likely continue as professionals become more able to work online and live where they choose.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
 Back from Jax again 
Finally made it back from a trip to Jacksonville to visit Mom. The United flight was delayed by 3 1/2 hours. The JAX airport is small. So small that nearly everything closes at around 7 p.m. I was glad that I was carrying a New Yorker magazine, a Wired magazine, and a book.

I took my Bike Friday New World Tourist, which I assembled at the airport and rode to Mom's place. It's about a 25 mile ride that takes around 2 hours. There was a great tailwind. At one point I looked down at the speedometer and I was cruising along at about 21 or 22 mph. I decided to see how fast I could ride without a lot of effort. I inched up the speed to 26, 27, 28 and just barely reached 30 mph before I backed down to the low 20's.

On the St. John's Ferry I parked among a group of cyclists returning from an afternoon ride on their hogs. They were surprised that I was cold riding in shorts and a light jacket.

Here are some photos from the trip. Included is a copy of a painting I did in acrylic of a bicycle, based on a photo on fixed gear gallery. It was an experiment, as I've never painted in acrylic before. Mom had paint in large bottles donated to her by a friend. It was fun to use lots of paint to achieve a thick blending of multiple colors.

Speaking of bicycle paintings, after a brief search I discovered Taliah Lempert, an artist who makes her living, mostly painting bicycles. Here's an interview of Taliah on fixed gear gallery.

Mosquito Control office on Eastport Rd.Aboard St. Johns Ferry with Bike FridayPower plant and Bike Friday near Heckscher Blvd.
Ship on St. Johns River next to Heckscher Blvd.Acrylic painting of a bicycleRed Cross lifesaving station on Jacksonville Beach at Beach Blvd.

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