Tuesday, October 30, 2007


real-life superheroes

i've been watching heroes and the x-men movies in the last couple weeks, so this seems even more awesome to me than it would've already: people who take on superhero names and roles in their communities.

a few of the (and my) heroes...

She calls herself Street Hero, says she is a former prostitute, knows martial arts and takes to the city’s underbelly to protect women who work the streets. Her uniform includes a black eye mask, a black bustier and black knee-high boots.
The Super is a superintendent of a building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, who fixes faucets and does electrical work for people in need. Yesterday, he wore a red cape, a yellow shirt, green suspenders and green tights under black soccer shorts.
A Brooklyn man who calls himself Direction Man prefers helping lost tourists and locals. He wears a bright orange vest, a pair of thick black goggles and has numerous maps spilling from his pockets.

they have an online lair, if you're interested in learning more.

(hT to magellan)

Friday, October 26, 2007


i actually kinda want to vote for ALL of them...

today at 5pm in the castro, mayoral candidates are gathering for a debate. they are choosing to meet in the castro for this particular debate because they are going to discuss issues relevant to the fact that the castro will be closed to partiers this halloween. i'm very enthusiastic about the fact that the candidates are addressing festival/celebration as an issue in san francisco.

the forum will focus, not only on Halloween in the Castro, but on how the city should work to facilitate community events as a whole.

all in all, i'm really pleased about how much the mayoral candidates are managing to raise issues (poverty! art! crime! partying! privatization!) and get people thinking and talking about this election. either despite the hopelessness of their chances at winning, or perhaps *because* of that hopelessness, this group of would-be politicians are managing to engage voters, publicize issues that need attention, and even force newsom into a greater degree of accountability. imo they deserve some serious hat tips for putting their time and $$$ into this campaign with no hope of success AT ALL. (not to say that they don't get something out of it, but i still think it's pretty altruistically awesome.)

proud sanfranciscan, etc., etc.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


elementary enviro ed

article in the nytimes today about environmental education movements in school systems.

this is something that i've been extremely interested in since high school. i did a couple of projects related to the subject during my undergrad coursework, and it's my top choice of what i would research for my grad work, in a perfect world. specifically, i'm interested in science-based and/or system-focused environmental education--enviro ed without indoctrination or bias. change behavior; teach scientific principles; don't use scare tactics; don't exaggerate--give kids the tools and knowledge to make their own decisions.

the article itself is a bit too balanced for my taste, but it's a good note to self that a) this movement is starting and b) there's a lot of room for improvement.

one good quote, that's applicable to enviro stuff everywhere:

“It’s like if you go to McDonald’s and order a hamburger and then recycle the packaging, that’s the most trivial thing you can do,” he said. “Because most of the environmental impact is in the meat production.”

thank god someone, somewhere, has moved past teaching kids to recycle.


new Neat Thing


i found it while searching for a tom robbins quote. and by golly, i found the quote i was looking for.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


...and it's not even GOOD for me.

as i sit here munching on what appear to be mold-covered, dried-out grub casings, but are in fact my first foray into the surprisingly tasty and traditional-aesthetics-defying world of 'veggie booty', i am reminded of a piece of news from a few months back... http://www.theonion.com/content/node/54916

"'veggie booty'! because 'spinach-kale-cabbage-carrot-broccoli-corn puffs' was already taken."

Saturday, October 20, 2007



this won't be anything new or different on the subject for anyone reading my words, but because i haven't acknowledged it elsewhere yet...

tiffa novoa was an amazing and staggeringly inspirational artist. her influence in my community can be seen everywhere, and its presence is a constant testament to her incredible sense of beauty and exploration of new aesthetics. her death is a loss for all of us who love art, fashion, and creative self-expression.

Friday, October 19, 2007


decom edition of the shroom

magellan has been putting these onion spoofs out for a few years.
the decom issue this year is great. enjoy!


noteworthy articles:
-BORG seeks to lower attendance with '08's "American Dream" theme
-13,000 RVs, 28,000 cars begin trek home from Green Man


japanese fashion exhibit: stylized sculpture

i don't think i've ever been to the asian art museum. my first excuse to myself is that i'm not sure i'd love it, but that's probably rubbish; there are undoubtedly exhibits that would capture my interest. so this new exhibit is going to be the prod that gets me over to the museum.

The garments—borrowed from the Kyoto Costume Institute, one of the world's leading repositories of haute couture—date from 1983 to 2007, and include a range of materials and methods from various seasons...all "with textures, colors, and shapes worthy of definition as sculpture."

the museum, which is located on the civic center plaza, is only $5 on thursdays after 5pm. perfect!



a friend from disorient pointed this out.

We now own 640 private acres surrounded on four sides by BLM public lands. It is located in Lassen County and is 3 miles off of US 395 and just 75 miles across Smoke Creek valley from Gerlach. It is called Sage Hen Pass. There is water on the property and all around it. S I expect we will have water also. It is elevated and secluded from the highway and is ideal for us, the burning man community. There is even an additional nearby section of property nearby that would allow us to grow if we decide to acquire it as well.


The City is to be broken up into eight separate entities or Tribes if you will, probably incorporated in Nevada where anonymity is all but guarantied by the state laws governing gambling. The Tribes will each own 80 acres in California and will operate some form of outdoor retreat, a campground or religious retreat or environmental retreat. Each of these Tribes will control their own membership that can be kept private. The Camps will provide the first level of control for the membership because every member must belong to a Camp. The eight Tribes will each control 80 Camps. The Tribes will be the second level of membership enforcement. This place will have thousands of members and because the expenses of the City are to be shared equally by each member, each level of control should want compliance with membership requirements. If we share cost among thousands of members major projects are possible. We want to build a City. We will end up with a city, why not plan for it. I congratulate you and welcome you wholeheartedly into the City because if you are digging this you are the kind of person we want.

pipe dream? probably. but i'll keep an eye on it. because, well, it would be marvelous, wouldn't it?

update: 'pipe dream' would be putting it mildly, apparently.

this, however, looks purrhaps slightly more realizable:


more of a burner resort island :)
of course i feel very cynical about these efforts. but i hate that that's true. i'd love to see these projects succeed. and i'm sure they could, if only...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


blackle, revised

i posted a short note about www.blackle.com yesterday, and very quickly got a comment from someone stating that the website is not valid, and in fact uses more energy than google.

a quick search returned articles on techlogg that support the commenter's statements, as well as several other blogs that involved less evidence (but plenty of venom) against the blackle claims..

the blackle site's spiel is below, but basically the site claims to save energy by using a black background for their search engine than a white background.

here's a quote from the techlogg article, which tested 27 monitors for power consumption using google and using blackle:

There’s no argument that on CRT monitors, Blackle does reduce the power consumption but it’s not by the 15-watts claimed. We tested the four CRT monitors we could get our hands on and found that only one unit, an older 22-inch Compaq, showed the 15-watts or more power differential.

But with the LCD monitor market penetration worldwide now beyond 75%, it’s the LCD monitor power consumption that’s just as, if not more, important.

The most interesting aspect we found was that of the LCD monitors we tested of size 22-inches or less, all showed an increase in power consumption using Blackle. Beyond the 22-inch mark however, five of the six models showed a fractional decrease in power consumption when using Blackle, except the ViewSonic VX2835wm, which showed a 2.2-watt increase.

For the five that dropped their power consumption, the average drop was 3.16-watts, again, not the 15-watts being suggested.

But for the sake of fairness, here’s what we suggest – if you’re using a CRT monitor, you can save some power by using Blackle however it won’t be as much as its supporters will have you believe. We still think it’s around half.

and here are the words from http://www.blackle.com/...

Blackle was created by Heap Media to remind us all of the need to take small steps in our everyday lives to save energy. Blackle searches are powered by Google Custom Search.

Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen."
Roberson et al, 2002

In January 2007 a blog post titled
Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

We believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up. Secondly we feel that seeing Blackle every time we load our web browser reminds us that we need to keep taking small steps to save energy.

How can you help?

We encourage you to set Blackle as your home page (
set ). This way every time you load your Internet browser you will save a little bit of energy. Remember every bit counts! You will also be reminded about the need to save energy each time you see the Blackle page load.

Help us spread the word about Blackle by telling your friends and family to set it as their home page. If you have a blog then give us a mention. Or put the following text in your email signature: "Blackle.com - Saving energy one search at a time".


education divide: quick note:

'Thirty-six percent of female workers in their 20s now have a college degree, compared with 23 percent of male workers.'

wait...what? wow.

found in an article about us crazy kids, with our unmarried, unattached, wandering lifestyles...

(recommendations for reading on these subjects very much welcome.)

Monday, October 08, 2007


i swear...

it's getting to the point where xkcd is so relevant to my and my friends' lives, i'm ready to plan a trek to find the author, kidnap him, and bring him back to what should obviously be his real home.

today's triggering strip: http://xkcd.com/326/

pertinent data points in the process of coming to this conclusion:

oh, and:


k i go do work now bai.

Friday, October 05, 2007


darfur, BART, and innovative advertising

for those of you who don't pass through the montgomery BART station two times every day, this month's whole-station ad campaign has been done by SaveDarfur.org.

a forwarded message about and link to the SaveDarfur.org petition, which you're welcome to add your name to, is near the bottom of this email.

but first a couple thoughts/observations...

- i think it's RAD that a non-profit was able to do a whole-station campaign. (i looked through the website--the org is a 501(c)3 coalition of religious groups and humanitarian groups. see here for list: http://www.savedarfur.org/pages/organizational_members.) whole-station campaigns are ridiculously engaging, and i love love love that all these nice thoughtful liberal sF workers are getting exposed to anti-genocide ads twice a day :)

- it's particularly impressive (and/or startling, ridiculous, amazing) that such a big expensive campaign was done when the campaign, for all its radness, is maybe not all that useful in terms of concrete results. all the ads do is ask for for people to think about their investments. 'is your mutual fund funding genocide?', 'what is your college fund funding?', 'are you invested in genocide?' and then they put the website at the bottom of the ad. when you go to the website there's a petition to sign that will be sent to 5 big investment firms; they don't provide any other suggestions for action in terms of divesting. i feel like with a whole BART station to use for ads, they maybe could've put up some more information about darfur or about the group's goals. or at least mentioned which 5 firms they're targetting. or...*something* more than just the taglines.

- while looking for info about whole-station advertising, i found a neat sfgate article from january 2006 about some anti-abortion ads that BART ran (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/01/13/BAGT9GMTU81.DTL). the article discusses first amendment stuff, yadda yadda, but also mentions a price of $43k for a certain amount of advertising, and notes that Viacom Outdoors runs BART's advertising (or did at that time). the BART website itself just lists contact info for a person to talk to about ads--no price schedule or further info.

anyways. neat local things connected to big interational things.

and the petition...

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: Divest for Darfur
Have you heard of divestment? It's one of the key tactics that was successfully used to end apartheid in South Africa and it can help end the violence in Darfur, too.

To "divest" means to withdraw investments from companies that are supporting the genocide in Darfur by doing business with the government of Sudan.

Join me in fighting the genocide by urging Franklin Templeton, JP Morgan Chase, Capital Group/American Funds, Fidelity, Vanguard, and other investment institutions to divest their holdings from any and all companies doing business with the government of Sudan.

Click the link below to sign the Divest for Darfur petition now and help cut off financial support for the government-sponsored violence in Darfur!


Diplomacy is crucial, but economic pressure may prove an even more powerful way to force Sudan to cooperate with international efforts to end the genocide.

Sudan has been very responsive to economic pressure in the past so we have reason to hope that they will pay heed to the divestment efforts.


setting your course through the '08 election

this short exercise asks you for opinions on a dozen or so issues, then shows you how your answers correspond with different candidates. neat and useful.


i'm pleased to say that dennis kucinich and i are still fully aligned in our belief systems :)

and, apropos of not much:
here's one of my favorite onion bits. infographic on ralph nader's campaign platform... http://www.theonion.com/content/node/27477


too much scifi tv...

can really make you susceptible to questionable fashion statements.

after starting with Firefly and then watching all available episodes of the new Battlestar Galactica, friend sam and i have moved on to Babylon 5.

unlike the first two shows, b5 is full of awesomely flashy and extravagant alien outfits. i keep thinking of Back to the Future...kind of a mesh between the various time periods in the second film. the show was produced primarily in the late 90s, i believe, but you wouldn't be able to tell. it's totally Star Wars as reimagined by a team of stylists with representatives from the Star Trek original series, Jem and the Holograms, Adventures of the Baron Munchausen, Dark Crystal, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and Dynasty. it's totally fabulous.

but the result being, i seem to have an uncommonly high opinion of this outfit:

i should probably check in and recalibrate my sense of taste after every few episodes.


kite runner controversy

i think this issue is getting a fair amount of press, but in case you haven't heard about it, imo it's an interesting, discomfiting, and distressing controversy.

i'm interested in whether the filmmakers really went through with the film in good faith. would it have been wiser and/or more respectful to use u.s. actors? counterintuitive, but maybe so...

if anyone happens to see any really good defenses or condmenations of the filmmakers, i'd love to see them. also, if you haven't read the book, i recommend it.

the gist of the current situation:

"Ahmad Jaan [the father of one of the film's child stars] says his fears are two-fold - that the film will worsen relations between Hazaras and the dominant Pashtuns (both the boy rapist and the principal character Amir are Pashtun); and that his own family may be in danger when the film comes out, because of Afghan concepts of dishonour."

bbc article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6992751.stm

nytimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/04/movies/04kite.html?ex=1192161600&en=b1e4724533d2e44e&ei=5070&emc=eta1

npr story (which i haven't listened to yet and which may give a more in-depth report): http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14556301

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