Thursday, July 29, 2010

Basement Make-up

Saw too many girls with basement make-up today: did their make-up in really poor lighting and way over applied. Blush is the worse. Just look in some natural light when you come up please!
You're beautiful, and this will also save you money!

Monday, July 26, 2010




Like for three reasons:
- Adopts a broader definition of 'national wealth' beyond GDP
- Overcomes *ignorant* majority rules issue of democracy
- Data / predictive model driven policy enforcement, none of this finger waving!

Still though, somewhat of a shame that money is still seen as the bottom-line mechanism of motivation, and secondly, I don't necessarily agree that policies should be determined solely by the betting market. Didn't we learn something from the market crash? Even the experts can be guilty of jumping on the bandwagon, not predicting a low probability event and totally missing the target.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Um...this guy way one-ups Steve Jobs and Apple launches

Here we are, invited into his NY (assuming?) apartment for a fresh-of-the-boat, sneak peak at Boxee-Box (I'm actually more interested in how he's doing this launch rather than the product haha). Amid the casual side burps, gitty-boy grins and box of wheat-thins, we hear about this new product being 'broadcasted' of course on something he also created. (?!)

And it's totally cool that the box still has some odd wire hanging out. We, the users don't mind. This guy has a ribbon around his head. He's real. No corporate veneer here.

Can we say power to the people?


Dash along dash,

you've had your time in the sun, but really you're quiet slow - look, buffer space required on each side, who has the time for that, and you permit - encourage - non-essential clarifications, thoughts, ramblings, like now. Enter dramatic, pithy replacement:
he's cuter too.

Surprising Eponyms

you don't say:
Fettuccine Alfredo – Alfredo di Lelio, an early-20th-century Italian chef invented the dish for his wife at his Roman restaurant and popularized it among tourists.

Eggs Benedict – at least two main accounts. Lemuel Benedict, a New York stockbroker, claimed to have gone to the Waldorf Hotel for breakfast one day in 1894 while suffering a hangover. He asked for a restorative in the form of toast, bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce on the side.

Oh Henry! – the candy bar introduced by the Williamson Candy Company in Chicago, 1920, was named for a young man who frequented the company store and was often commandeered to do odd jobs with that call. - Haha guessing he didn't get any royalties.

Philippines - Philip II of Spain

Saudi Arabia - Muhammad bin Saud

jovial - Jove / Jupiter, of Roman mythology

ritzy — hotelier Cesar Ritz - a duh!

fallopian tubes - Italian 14th century anatomist and member of the clergy, Gabriele Falloppio, also first known advocate and inventor of condoms
Eponyms, egotistical or charming?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Battle of Kurukshetra

Somewhat related to post below, but mostly just posting because I like the colours and the image style.

A manuscript illustration (18th c.?) of the Battle of Kurukshetra, fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, recorded in the Mahabharata Epic.


Feeling in a transitory place these days. Looked up liminal, and when you think about it, a lot of interesting things take place at the cusp: lunar solstice, rites of passage, midnight on New Year's Day, the few seconds before you awake, Schrödinger's Cat, airports, augmented reality:

Taking this to the edge:
In the Mahabharata, Indra promises not to slay Namuci and Vritra with anything wet or dry, nor in the day or in the night, but instead kills them at dusk with foam.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ode to Trees

Nothing like sitting under the shaded canopy of a gigantic tree on these hot summer days! A perfect little shelter, just for you. And then you look up and see all those wonderful lines and patterns impossible to recreate with any sort of artifice. My love of trees goes way back, when I was taught to hug, and kiss, trees early in life at summer camp. And it's true, they do hug back.

But anyways, what's this post about?!

A recent City of Toronto study evaluated the tree canopy in the city to be $7Bn. Hold up, how is that? Seems like a number of intangible sources of value in trees. The $7Bn amounts to the replacement value - what it would cost to re-plant (and apparently age, by calculating some NPV - also sounds a bit sketch) all the trees in the city. While it's a pretty decent figure, I think it could be much higher considering:
  • The obvious carbon capturing
  • The shade / insulation it provides for homes, reducing energy costs
  • Positive impact on productivity (people's brains are shown to work better / more creatively even from brief exposure to green space)
  • Positive impact on health (more time outside in green space, less stress, less heart-attacks)
  • Preservation of biodiversity
  • Property value bump
  • Others?
Still, think it's a move in the right direction, emphasizing the importance of our city's canopy in a way everyone can relate to.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Psssst, hey you...

...yeah you, over here. Have you been noticing the new (well, sort of new) chum-chummy, anthropomorphic way software companies have been talking to you? You don't know them, but they're one of your oldest friends. No need for formalities of the past. In fact, the formality now is to be informal. Company announcements all seem to require some sort of tongue and cheek, cutesy comment. In the past, this lack of seriousness was most likely interpreted as incompetence and therefore, not to be trusted by users / consumers. Now, the way to establish trust is to sound a bit like a 25 yr old, a smart one, yes, but someone you'd catch a beer with after the game.

Probably the first example of software anthropomorphism I can think was Google's:
I'm feeling lucky.
Whoa. This search engine has a personality, they're getting into my psyche, and we are sharing a nice little secret, that yes, now that you mention it, I am feeling shamelessly lucky. Even though I probably shouldn't. But ssshhh..we're old friends here, so it's okay, no one has to know.

Anthropomorphism has evolved since into cutesy humor. It's not too showy, just enough to establish that, yep, we're pals:
Trendly is a product of Smallthought Systems, makers of Dabble DB. It used to be called Dshbrd, but nobody knew how to pronounce that.
And now we're seeing this style permeate even the acquisition announcement:
You may have noticed that we’ve been a bit quiet lately. It’s not that we’ve been on vacation; rather we can finally announce today that our company, Smallthought Systems, has been acquired. We're joining forces with our friends at Twitter.
There are many other, better examples. I'm not so tech savvy. But, personally, I like this trend and I'm hoping it grows into a larger movement IRL: down with suits and those damn itchy nylons!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Contained intoxication?

Stendhal on the balancing act of intoxication and restraint in love:
The whole art of loving seems to me, in a nutshell, to consist in saying precisely what the degree of intoxication requires at any given moment.
And as Belknap interprets:
If the lover is truly in love, he will be bursting to ask, bursting to tell, bursting to know and to make known. But he must always be patient, always willing to bide his time, to keep his sweet sentiments and his ardent gestures to himself until the time for them arrives. And though the beloved may waver in her affection, the lover cannot let his faith be shaken. The love affair as a whole contains moments of distance and moments of closeness; the lover must always adapt, stay ready, and roll with the punches.
I'll excuse the exclusive use of the masculine third person...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I am Human

enjoying an ice cream on a hot (at least for Edmonton) summer's day. love the contrast between her and the ad behind.

New camera!

Got a new camera from a dear friend and absolutely superb photographer (The Big Durian). Ecstatic about it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer time and the living is easy...

our neighbours are in Germany - someone has to eat these!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh yeah, show me those outer ankle bones

May not look like much, but this was a scandalous work of art back in the day (1330 BC)

- a wife the same size and colouring (not paler) as her husband
- inside AND outside of feet shown (a direct disobedience of the strictly religious style that reigned in Egypt for 3000 yrs prior)
- the loose, unkingly posture of Tutankhamun (belly-out!), affectionate, PDAing wife and racy eye-gazing between the lovers (somewhat difficult to see in this replica)

Gender equality, heresy, and PDA. Way ahead of their time!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Dark Side of NYC

Sorry to get all angry Adbusters up in here, but this ad, on Varick and Spring, straight-up annoys me:

What a terrible tagline to promote a terrible business operation that predicates off a terrible lifestyle!

The shop-obsessive culture in the city is a shame, but things like hand-painted pianos scattered through-out public city parks more than make up for the umpteen American Apparels.

Dogmatic follow-up

Tyler Cowen on a quota for dogmatism.
Tyler, you're kidding right? But, because it's fun to play along, my innocuous absurd views are: the importance of 8hrs of uninterrupted sleep (timer resets with bathroom wake-ups), sleeping with your head-toe facing West-East, a daily dose of almonds and perhaps not so innocuous, biases against religion (except if you have an addiction or are overcoming a terribly traumatic experience).

What are your absurd views? We all have them!

Info as an upper, entrenched views and excuses for dogmatism

Being away from internet access over the past week (oddly enough, while staying at my cousin's West SoHo apartment that appears to be outfitted with everything except a reliable wireless connection and a can-opener), I found myself really craving unfettered browsing time and almost a bit depressed that I couldn't connect! It's not so much that I need to know what's going on in the world – I have never been someone to follow the comings and goings of everyday news – it's more that my brain seems to get-off from learning new things, which I'm sure yours does too. Without some random facts to learn (which are often actually quite useless and pose minimal relevancy to my life), I was feeling a bit empty, and while I wouldn't categorize any of it as withdrawal symptoms, I was definitely yearning for an info hit – a digital stimulant!

So, what's the neural reward system for information? When we learn something new what positive jolt of dopamine or seretonin is being transmitted in our brains? Where and why? The post-hoc evolutionary argument is a simple one – learning (to be bipedal, hunt, communicate, etc) is the key to survival, and it obviously makes evolutionary sense to 'reward' new information. But, what's not intuitive to me is why some information seemingly produces this hit (i.e., is 'interesting' to us), while other information is not. Obviously, experience shapes our perspectives and wiring, and apparently, we tend to favour information that supports, rather than challenges, our existing heuristics. So perhaps, evolutionarily, an 'all-eggs-in-one-basket' strategy was selected for over a diversification strategy? Better to keep learning and invest in one area, even if it may not pay off, than to spread your learning across a range of areas? This still rings true to some extent today, society rewards expertise. But I'd think that the evolutionary cost of diversification has definitely declined with the advent of the internet. So, perhaps diversification of learning and viewpoints will be selected for over the next 'very long period of time'! The open and well-rounded minds will prevail?

For now, I have a physiological excuse as to why I'm not that into SciFi.