So Pushes to the Head of the Line, Anand Giridharadas

Anand Giridharadas in his New York Times column “Currents” explores the seemingly pervasive and growing use of the word “so” to start sentences.

Have you heard it too? Are you using “so” that way? I am, though I’m a little surprised at myself for having adopted so a-grammatical a mannerism.

So, when Boing Boing brought this to my attention, I thought – interesting, how long has this use of “so” been around, what’s “so” mean in this context, and where did it come from?

Turns out that Anand Giridharadas is a fairly awesome author who answered these questions and more in a light handed and informative but not overly didactic way. Look for yourself but here’re a couple of examples that I could identify with:

“So” … echoes the influence of a science- and data-driven culture. It would have been unimaginable a few decades ago that literature scholars would use neurological correlation analysis to evaluate texts, or that ordinary people would quantify daily activities like eating, sex and sleeping, or that software would calculate what songs we will like.

But in algorithmic times, “so” conveys an algorithmic certitude. It suggests that there is a right answer, which the evidence dictates and which should not be contradicted. Among its synonyms, indeed, are “consequently,” “thus” and “therefore.”

Another use of “so” may have arisen from our fast paced and frequently fragmented lives, to imply a continuation or connection with an interrupted or incomplete previous conversation.

The rise of “so … is another symptom that our communication and conversational lives are chopped up and discontinuous in actual fact, but that we try in several ways to sew them together — or ‘so’ them together, as it were — in order to create a continuous experience.”

So anyway, it was a great column and highly recommended. Links:

Posted in found on the web | Tagged | Comments Off on So Pushes to the Head of the Line, Anand Giridharadas

Owner Requests 30-Day Extension

A Bay City News Service report confirmed the Thursday deadline for the owners of 320 and 330 Esplanade Ave. to submit a plan for the repair of those imperiled apartment buildings.

Millard Tong, the owner of 320 Esplanade (and also of 310) has submitted a request for a 30-day extension, according to Pacifica building official Doug Rider.

Rider planned to meet with the Pacifica city manager and city attorney Thursday to discuss whether to grant the extension.

This Bay City News Service release appeared in several news outlets including KRON 4 and CBS 5, but I picked it first from the San Mateo Daily Journal, smdailyjournal.com: Owners of Pacifica apartments to decide whether to repair buildings.

Image “Minute Hand” by Darren Hester under the Creative Commons license, Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0.


For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade:

http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

Posted in esplanade, local news | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

A wave of oil spotted approaching…

The Daily What: This Is The Worst of the Day: A wave of oil spotted approaching….

Posted in found on the web, photography | Tagged , | Comments Off on A wave of oil spotted approaching…

330 Esplanade Balcony

News from a source on Esplanade Avenue in Pacifica: the second-storey balcony behind 330 Esplanade has begun to sag. See the larger, original sized images on Flickr here.



For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade:

http://adequatebird.com/2009/12/17/evacuation-underway-at-330-esplanade/

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisd2006/collections/72157622920945823/

Posted in esplanade, local news | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Not quite, Tetris

via God dammit, Bob..

Posted in found on the web | Tagged , | Comments Off on Not quite, Tetris

DWFTTW | Down Wind Faster Than The Wind

Is it possible to go downwind faster than the wind, in a wind-powered car (or vehicle)?

Maybe we have a definitive answer as reported on PhysOrg.com:

(PhysOrg.com) — A wind-powered car has been clocked in the US traveling down wind faster than the wind. In a recent run at New Jerusalem in Tracy, California, the car reached a top speed of more than 2.85 times faster than the wind blowing at the time (13.5 mph) powered by the wind itself. The run should now settle the DWFTTW (down wind faster than the wind) debate that has been raging for some time on the Internet about whether or not such a feat was possible.

At the start, before the car is moving, the wind is coming from behind the car (as you’d expect). The wind vane / weather vane I’ve circled in the picture is attached to a mast or pole on the front of the car. It points towards the wind… obvious, but look at the next picture.

Before the car is moving, the wind is coming from behind the car (as you'd expect).

This image, of the car making a “high speed” run is pretty telling… check out the wind direction as indicated by a wind vane (weather vane) and orange ribbon atop a mast attached to the car (yellow circle). Again, the wind vane is pointing towards the wind. At first the wind vane pointed toward the back of the car. In this picture the vane is pointing forward… meaning that the car is going fast enough that the wind is apparently coming from the front of the car. The car is going faster than the wind blowing at it from behind.

Notice the wind direction as indicated by a wind vane (weather vane) and orange ribbon atop a mast attached to the car (yellow circle).

For more pictures and the story of how this vehicle was built and tested see Ride Like the Wind (only faster) at fasterthanthewind.org.

(Thanks to “Google-Backed Wind-Powered Car Goes Faster Than the Wind”, via Slashdot: Google-Backed Wind-Powered Car Goes Faster Than the Wind.)

Posted in found on the web | Tagged , | Comments Off on DWFTTW | Down Wind Faster Than The Wind

Wag More, Bark Less

Boing Boing, A sound rule.

Posted in found on the web, photography | Tagged , | Comments Off on Wag More, Bark Less

Bay Area Maker Faire 2010

..

Bay Area Maker Faire 2010

Rather than carry a camera, I just created a GPS track log of our visit on my nifty android phone to the Maker Faire at the San Mateo County Event Center.

Here’s the track log on a satellite map:


View Track log – 2010-05-23 Maker Faire in a larger map

Posted in local news, status | Tagged , | Comments Off on Bay Area Maker Faire 2010

WTD 976

What the Duck WTD 976.

Posted in found on the web, photography | Tagged , , | Comments Off on WTD 976

52 Ways to Die in a Cave

As part of the promotion for James Tabor’s book Blind Descent a list of potentially fatal caving mishaps has been making the rounds. (Curious? Read, Boing Boing, etc.)

Having been on some extended caving descents myself, this list made me laugh, reminded me of some close calls, and generally made we want to get underground again. Funny: #32 really wouldn’t kill you. Creepy: #43. Really – this could have happened to us once and we were anxiously hypervigilant to prevent it. Finally, if #52 doesn’t almost happen you then you’re really not having enough fun!

I don’t have any pictures from those excursions back in NY State and Pennsylvania but I do have some recent ones from a beach cave here in Northern California. I’ll post those later.

52 Ways to Die in a Cave

  1. Acetylene explosion (acetylene still used by some as fuel for cave lamps)
  2. Camp stove explosion (white gas or butane)
  3. Fall while climbing rock
  4. Fall while downclimbing rock
  5. Fall while ascending rope
  6. Fall while rappelling (descending rope)
  7. Rockfall
  8. Dig or tunnel collapse
  9. Unplanned detachment from rebelay
  10. Failure to complete change from rappel to ascent, and vice versa
  11. Prusik knots jammed
  12. Prusik knots won’t grip
  13. Ascenders slip on muddy, wet, or icy rope (this one almost got me on a 250-foot drop)
  14. Strangulation in vertical gear
  15. Fall from losing grip on handline
  16. Rope anchor failure
  17. Rope failure
  18. Rope cut by falling rock
  19. Ladder failure
  20. Uncontrolled rappel
  21. Harness carabiner opens during rappel (as with Chris Yeager)
  22. Rappel shunt (emergency brake) defeated during rappel
  23. Unwanted rappel shunt activation
  24. Rappel off end of rope (as with Alexander Karabikhin)
  25. Drop rope
  26. Rope recoils out of reach after rappel
  27. Rappel into pit without ascent gear
  28. Foot hang
  29. Chemical contamination of rope
  30. Animals eat rope
  31. Rappel rack nut falls off
  32. Hair caught in rappel rack
  33. Clothing or chinstrap caught in rappel rack
  34. Sewn sling tears
  35. Exhaustion
  36. Hypothermia
  37. Drowning
  38. Becoming lost
  39. Out of light
  40. Entrapment by flood
  41. Entrapment by rockfall
  42. Asphyxiation by methane, carbon dioxide, blast fumes, etc.
  43. Locked inside gated entrance
  44. Poisonous snakes and insects
  45. Struck by lightning while in cave stream
  46. Struck by lightning while talking on cable telephone to surface
  47. Rabid bat bite
  48. Bacterial or fungal infection: histoplasmosis, etc.
  49. Hyperthermia (some caves are 130F)
  50. Incapacitating injury
  51. Incapacitating illness
  52. Stuck in crevice

BLIND DESCENT by James Tabor is in stores on June 15, 2010 and available for preorder now. Learn more at http://www.BlindDescent.com

Posted in found on the web | Tagged , | Comments Off on 52 Ways to Die in a Cave

Pic of the Day: Floating in the Ocean – My Modern Metropolis

Pic of the Day: Floating in the Ocean – My Modern Metropolis.

Posted in found on the web | Tagged | Comments Off on Pic of the Day: Floating in the Ocean – My Modern Metropolis

Anti-identity-theft huckster has had identity stolen at least 13 times

According to Boing Boing, Todd Davis’s identity has been stolen at least 13 times. Davis is CEO of LifeLock, a company that sells anti-identity-theft services, and their ads feature Davis’s Social Security Number (because their service works so well he can afford to publicize his SSN without being compromised. Collection agencies across the country are trying to get him to cough up for debts that other people have racked up with the SSN they copied from the ad.

LifeLock has already been fined $12,000,000 by the FTC for deceptive advertising. The Phoenix New Times has a long, investigative story on LifeLock’s business practices and the (in)efficacy of its services. It’s a pretty comprehensive look at how to make something that doesn’t work very well and compound that with bad business practices. (Cracking LifeLock: Even After a $12 Million Penalty for Deceptive Advertising, the Tempe Company Can’t Be Honest About Its Identity-Theft-Protection Service)

Boing Boing via Anti-identity-theft huckster has had identity stolen at least 13 times.

Posted in found on the web | Tagged | Comments Off on Anti-identity-theft huckster has had identity stolen at least 13 times