First Snow

It’s so nice when the weather people predict a big storm and turn out to be right. Last night and today was the first snow of the year here in Boston (I’m not counting some early morning flurries I saw about a month ago). Luckily, I’m not traveling until tomorrow when they’re sure to have cleared off the runway.
It was a beautiful day. Here’s a picture of Beacon Street looking west from Park Drive. (map)

Six Months

I don’t know what happened to the formating yesterday. Does anyone know what I did wrong?
Today is my half-birthday. I realize that this is not a big deal for most people. It’s not a big deal for me either. However, birthdays do actually mean something – namely that you’ve been alive for x number of years. Since age is generally measured only in yearly terms, it is up to 364 days inaccurate. Shouldn’t we balance the inaccuracy and celebrate half-birthdays instead? That way, on any given day where we would say, “I am x years old” we would at most be only 182 off. This would like saying, “I am 25, give or take.” Instead of saying, “I am 25 or older, but not yet 26.” Of course, it would seem odd to celebrate the point in the year at which one is most far away from the aniversary of his birth. Hmm.

City Size (Counting the People)

The most populated cities of the US (2000 Census Data):

New York 21,199,865
Los Angeles 16,373,645
Chicago 9,157,540
Washington D.C. 7,608,070
San Francisco 7,039,362
Philadelphia 6,188,463
Boston 5,819,100
Detroit 5,456,428
Dallas 5,221,801
Houston 4,669,571
Atlanta 4,112,198
Miami 3,876,380
Seattle 3,554,760
Phoenix 3,251,876
Minneapolis 2,968,806
Cleveland 2,945,831
San Diego 2,813,833
St. Louis 2,603,607
Denver 2,581,506
San Juan 2,450,292

This isn’t new information, but I think it’s interesting to look at now and then. I think most people’s ideas about metopolitan population sizes are pretty skewed, and I am no excepetion. New York is twice as populated as Chicago and nearly four times as populated as Boston. There are more people living in the Los Angeles metropolitan area than in those of Seattle, Phoenix, Boston, and San Diego combined.
The complete list is available on the Census website.


What would Jesus drive? Apparently not an SUV. Yes SUVs are bad. They consumer a lot of gas and that is bad because it pollutes the air more than normal cars. Of course, normal cars do their share of polluting. They also increase a dependence on oil, which we know causes conflicts, which leave people dead. Fear not conflict, but cars themselves; being killed by a car is the fifth most popular way to die in the United States. Other problems, such as sprawl and corporate greed (7 of the 10 most profitable companies are supported by automobile dependence) can less clearly be blamed on driving, but there is certainly a connection.
What would Jesus drive? He wouldn’t.

“Don’t be a turkey.”

How tired are you of seeing this phrase, accompanied by a clip-art picture of a turkey, on Thanksgiving-related flyers?
Some examples from the web:

  • requests that I not be a turkey this Thanksgiving by handling food safely.
  • ESPN requests that I not be a turkey when I go hunting for turkey. That makes sense, I guess. I should try to be the hunter instead.
  • Science Fiction Romance suggests I avoid being a turkey when writing science fiction romance stories. I think I’d be happy just to not be writing a science fiction romance story. Is that like… alien love?
  • In Tobacco “news” from the Cape: Don’t Be a Turkey – Try to Quit Smoking Now.
    Does anyone know what is so bad about being a turkey, and why it is relevant to serving food, hunting, writing, and smoking? Is it that turkeys get killed? If so, why don’t people just say, “don’t get killed”?
    Another question: Does anyone actually say, “Don’t be a turkey”? Or is it always written. I just can’t imagine it in verbal context. “Dude, you gonna come out tonight?” “Naw, I think I’m just going to stay home and read.” “Oh come on man, don’t be a turkey!”

  • Points of View

    Nick Denton is the former CEO of my former employer, Moreover Technologies. It sounds like he had a rather interesting night a couple days ago when his wallet got stolen. What makes the story interesting is the interaction between the characters, who all recorded their version of events on their weblogs. I particularly enjoyed Nick’s strategy of sending his PayPal balance to a friend to watch the wallet thief attempt transactions with his PayPal debit card.

    From Above

    Yesterday Wired Magazine ran an article about a project to photograph the entire coast of California. At first I thought, “that’s cool” and checked a out a picture or two. Then I realized that I used to live across the street from the Pacific Ocean, so I found a picture of my old house (the white one across form the vacant lot and giant trees). I like the aerial imagery provided by mapquest, and Earth Viewer is even cooler (well worth the download – I noticed this being used a lot on television news reports about the D.C. sniper), but these (which rely on satellite photographs) don’t come near the quality of the California Coastal Records Project. My favorite so far is this one that looks down Fulton Street at the Richmond District and Golden Gate Park.

    BU Printing

    I’ve been spending a lot of time lately in the BU computer lab. It’s not that I don’t have my own computer; I have two. It’s not that I don’t have high speed internet access; I have DSL at home and a wireless network in the law school. Why am I wasting my time down here then? The BU lab has something extraordinary: the ability to print.
    The printing is done through a couple centralized printers. This makes a lot of sense. Sharing is almost always more efficient that doing something on your own. Some examples: (1) You get a bigger apartment for the same amount of money when you share; (2) food is cheaper when you share (bulk costs); (3) transportation is more efficient when you share (car vs light-rail); etc. Consequently, the printing in the computer seems pretty inexpensive, though I can’t figure out what it is actually costing. Plus I get laser quality, which is good when it’s raining out (doesn’t smear) like it is today.
    The system could be better though. You can print from any of the terminals in the computer lab (and there are a lot of terminals), but you can’t seem to print remotely. I think it’d be really cool if you just print from home and pick up the documents on your way to school. I brought my laptop yesterday to see if I could print directly from it, plugging it into the network. This didn’t work. Today I figured out that instead of emailing my files onto ever-so-slow hotmail account, I could just FTP them and download them at the terminal. This saves some time. There are a lot of barriers to printing from another network though. I think I might have figured out a way to do it, but it’s going to take a lot of steps and may not prove faster than just coming down here (after all, you have to come down anyway to pick up the printing – the goal is to avoid the wait while your documents print, this can take hours if there is a long print queue).
    Why not make a system that would allow BU students to print from home? It could probably be developed for less than the cost of one row of computers in the computer lab, as many of which are probably being used exclusively for printing anyway.