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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry (Belated) Christmas!

Meant to throw this up. Forgot.

Here it is now.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Radiohead vs. David Nail

Heard 'High and Dry' by Radiohead on the radio the other day for the first time in years.
For some reason I felt like I had heard it recently though.... It finally came to me.
'High and Dry' sounds like 'Let it Rain' by David Nail, a country song.

Check it out! (Play the videos for about 10 seconds each for a sample).

'High and Dry' (start at 0:29)

'Let it Rain' (start at 0:15)

Who knew. '90s Alt-rock and modern country sound incredibly similar.

Monday, December 17, 2012

God, the explanation. God, the excuse.

Bryan Fischer, radio host and spokesperson for the 'American Family Association', has been getting a lot of flack lately for these comments:


Basically, he says the murders in Newtown were the result of Americans and public schools turning away from god and Christian education.

This is a similar situation to U.S. Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock, saying pregnancies from rape are "something God intended".
"A Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Indiana set off a political firestorm Tuesday after he said that when a woman is impregnated during a rape it's 'something God intended.'

The candidate, Richard Mourdock, made the remarks toward the end of a debate with Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Donnelly in response to whether he believes abortion should be allowed in the case of rape or incest.

'I struggled with [the issue] myself for a long time,' Mourdock said. 'But I came to realize: Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.'" (dailymail)

At first, you immediately reject both of these comments as incredibly insensitive and misinformed.
However, I then remember a post by Barstool Philly blogger, Maurice, that addressed this issue: (Sent to me by my friend, Ani)
"The absolute strangest part about this entire controversy is that there’s even any controversy at all. Saying that rape pregnancies are “something God intended”…that’s 100% true, right? Like I thought that was the idea behind the whole omnipotence thing. Every event in the history of the world and forever is part of God’s plan. It’s not just rape pregnancies, either. Every Haitian earthquake, every cleft lip, every unexplained NBC delay of the Community season premiere — everything. Being upset with that fact is practically the same as saying the guy upstairs doesn’t have control of it all.

So yeah, duh, Richard Mourdock is totally right. It’s part of the Plan. We just gotta hope the Big Guy’s blueprint contains a little more birth control and a little less rape going forward." (Barstool)

Is he not 100% correct?
Claiming that the murder of innocent children and pregnancies from rape are "God's will" is the same as saying God did anything else.

God created the heavens and the Earth... then he created rape and murder.
I mean, he didn't have to go that far, right? He could have just stopped at biting fingers and purple nurples.

If there is an omnipotent, all-powerful god, why does he choose to "save" some people, then let others suffer?
I've heard the explanations: "he's testing us" and "he doesn't have time to answer everyone's prayers", but they make no sense. Either he has time to "test" every single person individually, thus has time to save a life; or he doesn't have time for everyone.

Of course, I know I'm getting into arguments that have lasted centuries, so I won't continue to rehash them all.

But I really want to know why it was immediately assumed that this woman had NOT heard the voice of god.

Prosecutors: Woman charged with stalking Rev. Michael Pfleger said it was God's plan

The vacant, crazy look is just the face of a woman on a mission from God
"A Deerfield woman charged with stalking the Rev. Michael Pfleger told authorities that God told her that she was supposed to marry the priest, prosecutors said today.

Lidia Kuzniar, 55, of the 1100 block of Montgomery Drive, was charged Monday afternoon with felony stalking after she tried to approach Pfleger during church services on several occasions, prosecutors said at her bond hearing today."

"Before Sunday's arrest, Kuzniar had been arrested at the church several other times for trespassing and stalking, police said. The priest had also taken out an order of protection against the woman, said Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto."

""[Kuzniar] indicated that she was supposed to marry [Pfleger], that God told her this, and that nothing would stop her," said Scaduto.

After the woman was escorted from the church, she returned the following day at about 6 p.m. The woman refused to leave and was warned that if she did not leave she would be arrested for trespassing, Scaduto said.

"But [Kuzniar] lied down on the floor, let her body go limp, and refused to get up," said Scaduto."(Chicago Tribune)
Sounds legit to me...
For all we know, she heard it from a burning bush.

A couple memes

I usually don't post this stuff on the blog anymore (check out the Tumblr for more randomness!), but for some reason these made me laugh enough to warrant a special post.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas is coming

It's been a while since my last post. Here's a quickie.

An oldie (3 years old), but a goodie:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Song of the Moment: Dumb Ways to Die

OK, it's been more of a moment now, I've had this song stuck in my head for two weeks now...

But it's so catchy!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Barack Goes to Bangkok

Everyone's been joking about these pictures of Obama and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Apparently they got along really well and looked rather flirty.
Thought they were pretty funny and that I'd help spread the love.

The "nice you meet you, I like what I see" picture:

The "flirty laughing" picture:

And the "we just did something naughty" picture:

As far as I know, Bill never seduced a head of state.
(via dailymail)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Launching a Product

I've been a Mechanical Engineer for over five years now, with my primary focus being the development of products.

Despite this, I have never actually been a part of the launch of a new products. I've been in a startup environment whose product did not make it to market, a defense contractor where I worked on products either 40 years old or 10+ years away from deployment, a shoe company with dedicated marketing and sales departments, and currently at another startup company with a product still in development.

This all changed when I became involved with a new company, IceColdNow (website hasn't launched yet), which is about to launch a crowdfunding campaign and a new product, the Coldwave.
(Follow the company on Twitter and "like" it on Facebook!)

The Coldwave is a revolutionary product that can chill any drink ice-cold in about a minute.
It can even chill steaming-hot coffee directly from a single-serve brewer (ex. Keurig)!

That's it between some of the beverages it can chill!

But back to my original point about product launches.

I joined IceColdNow after the majority of development had been completed, so my engineering and design skills were not required. I've always been interested in the marketing side of things, but have had little experience in it. Fortunately, I was able to get my foot in the door and utilize my familiarity with social media to join the team.

This will be an interesting ride, but I'm up for the task and hope to chronicle it on this blog as it progresses.

For those more experienced in the fields of social media and marketing, any and all comments and suggestions are more than welcome.
For those not experienced, here. Oh, and your comments and observations are more than welcome as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Seth Godin's TEDTalk on Education

Fred Wilson, of Union Square Ventures, recently posted this TEDTalk by Seth Godin.

He doesn't really present any new ideas but, as all good speakers do, he presents it in a highly convincing manner that I believe may sway more people.
Watch it as soon as you have 15 minutes. It's well worth it.

I've long thought that the current educational system is an absolute mess and utterly beats out any creativity in children.
It needs a massive overhaul and simply getting people to believe that fact will be a big step forward.

As I explore more and more ideas on the fringes of the majority, I am increasingly encouraged by what I find. I am not alone in thinking that many of the current systems are broken and there are people out there with ideas to fix them.
There are people out there like Seth Godin, Clayton Christensen, and even Mark Cuban challenging the status quo.

However, much of society (especially those in power) is embedded in its ways and is intent on keeping things the way they are.
We must do everything we can to spread the "radical" ideas and change the minds of the masses in order to change/fix things.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Massachusetts Ballot Questions 2012

My buddy, Josh Gee, recently wrote an excellent post on the California and Los Angeles ballot questions.
I thought it was such a good idea that I decided to write my own for Massachusetts.

And for the love of god, no hanging chads!

So, for all you last-minute ballot researchers:

QUESTION 1: Availability of Motor Vehicle Repair Information
"This proposed law would prohibit any motor vehicle manufacturer, starting with model year 2015, from selling or leasing, either directly or through a dealer, a new motor vehicle without allowing the owner to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturer’s dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities.

The manufacturer would have to allow the owner, or the owner’s designated in-state independent repair facility (one not affiliated with a manufacturer or its authorized dealers), to obtain diagnostic and repair information electronically, on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities." (state.ma.us)
In short, the law would require manufacturers to disclose proprietary information on all of their vehicles so that any garage may fully service them.
On the one hand, it would likely reduce the repair and maintenance costs for vehicles. On the other, the state is forcing companies to divulge their competitive advantages over other companies.

Suggestion: VOTE NO

Rationale: I was torn on this issue for a while.
While this may seem like an ideal law for consumers and a win for their wallets, ideologically I cannot agree with a law that forces a company to release proprietary information. (It reminds me greatly of the case of 'Rearden Steel' in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged).
In the short term, it will likely reduce costs for consumers. However, it will ultimately result in decreased innovation and higher costs.
If a company is forced to reveal secret information, it will eventually stop putting secret information into their products; i.e. it will stop innovating. Put money into R&D if your competition will just get to see it and copy it after the it is released?
It is innovation and competition that drives prices lower and increases features, so one can extrapolate the effects. This lack of innovation will result in a stagnant industry and uniformity of product offerings. The lack of competition will drive prices up, not through the lesser maintenance and repair fees, but through initial purchasing costs.

QUESTION 2: Prescribing Medication to End Life
"This proposed law would allow a physician licensed in Massachusetts to prescribe medication, at a terminally ill patient’s request, to end that patient’s life. To qualify, a patient would have to be an adult resident who (1) is medically determined to be mentally capable of making and communicating health care decisions; (2) has been diagnosed by attending and consulting physicians as having an incurable, irreversible disease that will, within reasonable medical judgment, cause death within six months; and (3) voluntarily expresses a wish to die and has made an informed decision. The proposed law states that the patient would ingest the medicine in order to cause death in a humane and dignified manner.

The proposed law would require the patient, directly or through a person familiar with the patient’s manner of communicating, to orally communicate to a physician on two occasions, 15 days apart, the patient’s request for the medication. At the time of the second request, the physician would have to offer the patient an opportunity to rescind the request. The patient would also have to sign a standard form, in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom is not a relative, a beneficiary of the patient’s estate, or an owner, operator, or employee of a health care facility where the patient receives treatment or lives." (state.ma.us)
Suggestion: VOTE YES

Rationale: This was a bit easier.
Rather than list the reasons of why a patient should have the choice, I will pose this question instead: Why shouldn't they?
As far as I'm concerned, it is completely up to the patient and their family to decide. Many times the patient is going through unbearable agony in their final days and would rather go peacefully.

QUESTION 3: Medical Use of Marijuana
"This proposed law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients. To qualify, a patient must have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV-positive status or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis. The patient would also have to obtain a written certification, from a physician with whom the patient has a bona fide physician-patient relationship, that the patient has a specific debilitating medical condition and would likely obtain a net benefit from medical use of marijuana.

The proposed law would allow patients to possess up to a 60-day supply of marijuana for their personal medical use. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) would decide what amount would be a 60-day supply. A patient could designate a personal caregiver, at least 21 years old, who could assist with the patient’s medical use of marijuana but would be prohibited from consuming that marijuana. Patients and caregivers would have to register with DPH by submitting the physician’s certification." (state.ma.us)
Suggestion: VOTE YES

Rationale: Easiest yet.
Moving away from simply the medical uses of marijuana, I am in favor of decriminalizing it altogether and moving it towards a regulated substance along the lines of alcohol.
Over and over again, research has shown that the "War on Drugs" is a failure. Not only has it had little (if any) effect on the distribution and usage of drugs, it has wasted billions of dollars. Additionally, it has instigated botched/faulty raids, some of which have resulted in the deaths of innocent people. (This case of a grandfather killed by police comes to mind, but there are dozens like it).
Additionally, we must remove the power of the federal government to impose its will over state law. The federal government (A.G. Eric Holder) has repeatedly stated that it will continue to prosecute citizens in possession of marijuana, even if it is legal in their state.
Not only does this completely contradict the Constitution and its intentions of limited federal government, but it just creates an incredibly and unnecessarily complicated situation where our own government is at odds with itself.
I highly doubt the federal government's case would hold up if a case was ever brought before the Supreme Court and, in the process, it would have likely cost taxpayers millions in legal fees to do so.

Hopefully this helped a little.
The most important part is that you continue to do your own research on the issues and remember to vote tomorrow!

As always, any thoughts (or corrections) are welcome and encouraged.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Economic Impact of Disasters

Read this article on CNN Money today and I immediately began to think about the misconceptions with economic growth and disaster recovery.

Many people think that the period after a disaster is an economic boon. Specifically, industries related to rebuilding; like construction, home improvement stores, and insurance  will benefit greatly and help to stimulate the economy.

Hooray for the car industry?

Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously* said this about the "benefits" of the tragic 2010 earthquake in Haiti:
*[Maybe not so famously... the exact quote was hard to find.]
“I think that this can be an opportunity for a real boom economy in Haiti,” she told reporters in the Capitol, drawing from her experience in San Francisco. Haiti “can leap-frog over its past challenges, economically, politically, and demographically in terms of the rich and poor and the rest there, and have a new — just a new, fresh start,” (The Washington Times)

While this may be true for some industries, losses in other areas are guaranteed to outweigh the benefits.
Surprisingly, the 'CNN Money' touches on this:
Sandy's economic impact
By Chris Isidore @CNNMoney October 30, 2012: 3:32 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The impact of Hurricane Sandy on the lives of residents of the Northeast will be great.
Millions are without power, likely for an extended period of time. Businesses -- from the nation's stock exchanges and all the way on down to thousands of corner stores -- have been shut down.
The total cost of property damage and lost business is estimated to run between $10 billion to $20 billion, according to Eqecat, which provides loss estimates to the insurance industry.
Insured losses, excluding those covered by National Flood Insurance, are expected to be between $5 billion to $10 billion.
And total losses could go as high as $25 billion including interruption to business, according to estimates by Kinetic Analysis Corp.
But economists surveying the immediate aftermath of the storm say there may be little if any impact on the nation's overall economy.
The loss of business and wealth caused by the storm will likely end up being roughly balanced out by money that will go into rebuilding and recovery efforts from insurers, the government's national flood insurance program and private savings.
Granted, they present the information as if this is an isolated incident and some other disasters are potentially beneficial.
"The bottom line is, it's very disruptive, very painful, but at the end of the day these kinds of natural disasters typically don't show up in national economic data," said Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics. "There will be a lot of offsetting effects, both winners and losers. Restaurants get hurt. Grocery stores do better."
The same is likely true with measuring the impact on income and jobs. Zandi said the number of workers who are off the job and not being paid because their employer is temporarily shut down will likely be balanced by those working overtime clearing debris, moving a backlog of shipments or helping in rebuilding. (CNN Money)
You can read the rest of the article here, but the rest is more of the same: Some people will benefit, while others will be hurt.

While this may seem obvious now, many people (like Pelosi) believe destruction and reconstruction could be beneficial to an economy and more of it should be done.

I could try to explain the fallacy of it all, but Frederic Bastiat has already done so, and in a more eloquent manner, when he explained "That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen".

My thoughts exactly, Frederic!

An excerpt:
(But be sure to read the rest of the example here)
Have you ever witnessed the anger of the good shopkeeper, James B., when his careless son happened to break a square of glass? If you have been present at such a scene, you will most assuredly bear witness to the fact, that every one of the spectators, were there even thirty of them, by common consent apparently, offered the unfortunate owner this invariable consolation: "It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Everybody must live, and what would become of the glaziers if panes of glass were never broken?" 
Now, this form of condolence contains an entire theory, which it will be well to show up in this simple case, seeing that it is precisely the same as that which, unhappily, regulates the greater part of our economical institutions. 
Suppose it cost six francs to repair the damage, and you say that the accident brings six francs to the glazier's trade — that it encourages that trade to the amount of six francs — I grant it; I have not a word to say against it; you reason justly. The glazier comes, performs his task, receives his six francs, rubs his hands, and, in his heart, blesses the careless child. All this is that which is seen
But if, on the other hand, you come to the conclusion, as is too often the case, that it is a good thing to break windows, that it causes money to circulate, and that the encouragement of industry in general will be the result of it, you will oblige me to call out, "Stop there! Your theory is confined to that which is seen; it takes no account of that which is not seen." 
It is not seen that as our shopkeeper has spent six francs upon one thing, he cannot spend them upon another. It is not seen that if he had not had a window to replace, he would, perhaps, have replaced his old shoes, or added another book to his library. In short, he would have employed his six francs in some way which this accident has prevented. 
Let us take a view of industry in general, as affected by this circumstance. The window being broken, the glazier's trade is encouraged to the amount of six francs: this is that which is seen.
If the window had not been broken, the shoemaker's trade (or some other) would have been encouraged to the amount of six francs: this is that which is not seen
And if that which is not seen is taken into consideration, because it is a negative fact, as well as that which is seen, because it is a positive fact, it will be understood that neither industry in general, nor the sum total of national labor, is affected, whether windows are broken or not.
Now let us consider James B. himself. In the former supposition, that of the window being broken, he spends six francs, and has neither more nor less than he had before, the enjoyment of a window. 
In the second, where we suppose the window not to have been broken, he would have spent six francs in shoes, and would have had at the same time the enjoyment of a pair of shoes and of a window. Now, as James B. forms a part of society, must come to the conclusion, that, taking it altogether, and making an estimate of its enjoyments and its labors, it has lost the value of the broken window. 
Whence we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: "Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed," and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end — to break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labor; or, more briefly, "destruction is not profit."
The point is that, while you could say broken windows are required to keep the window makers in business, the money used for repairs/reconstruction could be saved for something else.
Contrary to the Keynesians' belief, savings are not a bad thing. They could be saved for disasters (if they are deposited in a bank, the money could be lent to another business) or spent on something else, fueling another industry.

Anyway, just a short intro to Bastiat. Be sure to read his full essay here.
The full text is a bit long and the language isn't the easiest to read, but I think it is an excellent explanation of the concept.

*edit* Found this John Stossel piece when searching for the Pelosi quote. It does a good job explaining the idea as well.
(He also cites Bastiat. Great minds....)

Post Gone...

Well, I was about to publish a nice long post responding to this article my friend had sent, but it somehow got wiped when I tried to publish...

Do not have the patience to write it all over again, so I'll have to write another!

Frustrating, but I should really write offline so this doesn't happen again...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cover Letter Fail

To pair with my previous post of a poor recruiter email, here's a Cover Letter that was recently released from a potential employer:

Needless to say, I don't they got the job.
(via Neatorama)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Recruiter Fail

I fairly regularly get emails from recruiters on open positions they're trying to fill.
I know they probably have a poor hit rate, so they try to increase their volume to compensate, but sometimes you need to review your emails a little more closely...

This isn't the worst I've seen, but this the first that didn't even get my name right.

The qualifications could be set by the employer (and some are equally incompetent when it comes to job postings), so it's hard to place all the blame on the recruiter there.

Anyway, I'm not interested in the position, but if you are, you're more than welcome to contact Gaway.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Virgin Produced: Departure Date

I recently saw this video made by 'Virgin Produced', Virgin's (AKA Richard Branson's) production company. Which is, as they put it:
"Virgin Produced is a new kind of production company. One that is creative, not controlling. One that refuses to cut corners and doesn't use money to buy your love. One that has faith in its projects. And one that plays nicely with our brothers and sisters in the aviation, mobile, banking, hotel, health club, music, train, and video game industries. Virgin Produced very simply has balls, and we're not afraid to show them. In fact, we're gonna go ahead and apologize ahead of time. You might see our balls. Our bad."
I wasn't going to watch it initially, but as a fan of Virgin/Richard Branson, I figured I'd take a look.
It's surprisingly good!
(And "surprisingly good" is apparently as good of a complement as they've gotten recently...)

Anyway, here it is:

After watching it, I had a tune stuck in my head for some reason. Figured it out and realized it goes really well with the story of the mini-movie.

Good stuff.

Thoughts on the movie/song?

Friday, October 5, 2012

'Arrested Development' pictures

One of my all-time favorite shows, 'Arrested Development', is in the process of filming a new season!
From what I can tell, everything is going well.

Here are some recent pictures:

Photo shoot for 'EW'.

David Cross is a genius.
(via /Film)

Buster running in a peacoat and short shorts:

And here's why he's dressed like that:
(via HuffPo)

I'm a little worried the new episodes won't be as good as the old, but if these photos are any indication, I won't be disappointed.

Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady: Rivalry Renewed

Longer entries that aren't easy to post on the Tumblr go here.

Case in point, multi-image Facebook feed from the ELITE quarterbacks:

(link thanks to Nick N)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hall & Oates - You Make My Dreams

Recently heard Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams" on the radio.

It immediately, I thought of this scene from "500 Days of Summer":

It's so peppy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Anti-obesity: The new homophobia?"

Old article from Salon, but it came up again in conversation and it's dumb enough that I wanted to share some thoughts.

Simply starting with the subtitle, we're off to a terrible start:
Telling fat people they ought to be thin is about as helpful as telling gay people they should be straight
How are these at all the same??
One is nature (I am among the many that sexuality is something that originates from birth), the other is completely preventable (Stop. Eating.)

He continues for a bit then we get to this:
To a remarkable degree, attempts to cure obesity resemble attempted cures for homosexuality, with the key difference being that while our public health authorities have come to denounce the latter as ineffective, unnecessary and ultimately harmful, they continue to employ the most extreme rhetoric in regard to the former. For example, the goal of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign is no less than to “end childhood obesity within a generation,” that is, to create an America with no fat children in it.
That is exactly the point! We don't want fat people!
It's bad for their own health and it causes healthcare costs to go up (for them and everyone else).
As far as I know, gay people aren't any more or less healthy than the average person (in fact, I bet most are healthier).

I won't quote the entire article, instead you should go read it yourself. Let me know what you think.

But I don't think I'm alone thinking this is just a ridiculous concept.

The ever-offensive, Mr. Ricky Gervais seems to be of the same mindset:


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Comparing Recessions

Here are a few graphs that I thought were pretty interesting from blog of the 'Oregon Office of Economic Analysis':

This one compares job loss to all other economic downturns since WWII:
Obviously the current recession is much worse than any other recession since WWII.

However, when you compare our current situation to some other international periods, it doesn't look so bad:
The alarming part is the shallow recovery path we are on. Although we did not bottom out as low as the Great Depression or other economic downturns, our recovery is going much slower and, in fact, is on track to last as long as the Great Depression. Rather than a very steep recovery, we are tracking much more similar to the 1990s recessions of Finland and Sweden.

But here again, the situation does not seem as dire compared to other crises. Unemployment "only" topped out at around 10%:

So forget all the political talk.

In terms of unemployment numbers:
Yes, it was much worse that we thought and recovery is a lot slower than expected.
No, it was not as bad as the Great Depression or other economic crises around the world.
Yes, we are on the way to recovery.

Don't you just love facts?
(Especially ones that laid out in easy-to-read charts)

(Oregon Office of Economic Analysis via Wonk Wire)

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Kickstarter Is Not a Store"

Kickstarter recently published a post with the same title trying to address the issue of projects being funded, but the creators not being able to successfully manufacture the product (whether it is due to cost, manufacturing, or other restrictions) or deliver in a timely manner.
It's hard to know how many people feel like they're shopping at a store when they're backing projects on Kickstarter, but we want to make sure that it's no one. Today we're introducing a number of changes to reinforce that Kickstarter isn’t a store — it’s a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things.
To prevent this from happening further, the company has instituted several new changes to project creators' rules and guild lines:

One was:
Creators must talk about “Risks and Challenges” 

Today we added a new section to the project page called "Risks and Challenges." All project creators are now required to answer the following question when creating their project:

“What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?” 

We added the "Risks and Challenges" section to reinforce that creators' projects are in development. Before backing a project, people can judge both the creator's ability to complete their project as promised and whether they feel the creator is being open and honest about the risks and challenges they face.
This make sense, but I'm a bit surprised creators were not addressing this issue already. How were they coming up with their funding goals if they did not already consider potential issues and, more importantly, costs?

But I think this requirement is a good change and should help direct funds to more competent creators who have thought out their products in detail; and divert funds away from conceptual artists, and scammers, who throw up ideas with the hopes of making a quick buck.

The more idiotic policy is the following:
New Hardware and Product Design Project Guidelines

The development of new products can be especially complex for creators and seductive to backers. Today we’re adding additional guidelines for Hardware and Product Design projects.

They are:

  • Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.
  • Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists.
Products should be presented as they are. Over-promising leads to higher expectations for backers. The best rule of thumb: under-promise and over-deliver.

We've also added the following guideline for Hardware and Product Design projects:

  • Offering multiple quantities of a reward is prohibited. Hardware and Product Design projects can only offer rewards in single quantities or a sensible set (some items only make sense as a pair or as a kit of several items, for instance). The development of new products can be especially complex for creators and offering multiple quantities feels premature, and can imply that products are shrink-wrapped and ready to ship.
This makes no sense at all.
Unless Kickstarter's goals have changed, I was under the impression that it wanted to help creators find funding to create.
How does the company expect the creator to fund these prototypes? Many projects are manufacturing intensive (ex. require plastic molds, circuit boards, etc) and cannot be built within reasonable specifications by hand. Also, the creators may not have the knowledge to create their idea and need funding to hire additional resources to do so.
Requiring working prototypes prevents potentially thousands of products from even being submitted.

These changes were implemented under the misguided impression that the issue was consumer protection; however, the consumer does not need protection in this case. Investing in anything (Kickstarter, companies, stocks, etc) is full of risk. It is the consumer/investor's responsibility to properly research the project and creator. The "Risks and Challenges" section is a good place to start this research, but it is ridiculous to believe a fully packaged, plastic-cased, electronics product could be made with such little effort and so little money.

Of course, this is not all on the consumer. As I mentioned before, the creator needs to do his/her research to find a reasonable target fundraising goal and timeline to production.

I repeat, it should be the users' (creators and consumers) responsibility to improve the success rate of these projects and not Kickstarter's. I can only imagine the new hardware and product design policies harming the overall community.
Eventually, creators will move away from Kickstarter and find another site that enables them to market themselves as openly as they choose. Detailed and accurate presentations of their ideas will be rewarded with well-informed consumers that will want to invest in their concept.

Of course, I am only basing this off the success of a free-market economy. I could be wrong.

(Kickstarter blog via core77)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Muse - Madness

I've been on a music-related post kick lately...

Anyway, I heard the latest Muse song, 'Madness', a while ago and it really reminded me of early '90s U2.

The entire song has a very general U2-feel to it, but specifically The Edge's song 'Numb':

And especially the guitar solo here:

Take a listen to both and let me know what you think.

Let's Ban Corporate Profits! #DNC2012

Peter Schiff reports from the DNC and makes a push to end corporate profits:

Reminds me of that petition years ago to end women's suffrage:

Granted, both are a little sneaky in that they put people on the spot with little time to comprehend what is being asked...
But still, a complete ban on profits??

Just don't forget, this is the party of inclusion and tolerance.
And they definitely don't make generalizations.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kelly Clarkson's new song

I heard Kelly Clarkson's new song on the radio the other day.
I thought the opening sounded really familiar and finally figured out which song it sounded like.
(It was a little tricky because it was a hidden track).

Kelly Clarkson - Dark Side
Just listen to the intro, I promise you don't have to listen to the whole thing.

The Wallflowers - Baby Bird
Good song, you'll want to listen to the whole thing.

I guess they're not similar enough to make a big fuss about, but it's close...

Anyone else agree?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Lou Ferrigno PSAs: The More You Ferrigknow

Just wandered across these...

I don't know why they haven't blown up yet, but I need to spread the love as much as I can.




Thursday, August 23, 2012

'Futurama' In Real Life

Too good to leave for the Tumblr.

Some awesome, realistic portraits of Futurama characters:

Dr. Zoidberg


Lrr of the Planet Omicron Persei 8


Suddenly he's not so cute...

(Jared Krichevsky via Neatorama)

Monday, August 20, 2012

PSY - Gangnam Style

Can't quite say this is a SotM... But it is quite good.

30 Signs That You Were Raised by Cheap Parents

WiseBread recently published this post on the "30 Signs That You Were Raised by Frugal Parents".

Well, there is a fine line between being frugal and being cheap.
After reading WiseBread's post, I decided to rewrite the list, as seen by the product of a "cheap" parent.

30 Signs That You Were Raised by Frugal Cheap Parents

1. You skip the headlines in the Sunday paper and head straight for the sales inserts.
You read the Sunday paper on Mondays.

2. You’ve washed (or seriously considered washing) tin foil to use it a second time.
Tin foil? That's what the Sunday paper is for.

3. You remember smuggling homemade snacks into the Saturday matinee.

You remember snacking on the leftover popcorn wedged between the seats during the Saturday matinee.

4. You know how to buff your shoes to high shine by adding a bit of water or heat to the polish.

You know how to add heat and water to a shoe to remove its polish and transfer it to another pair.

5. You’ll still stop to pick up a penny.

You’ll still stop to fish coins out of the public fountains.

6. You ignore the suggested use or recommended quantity directions on most products.
You ignore the suggested use or recommended quantity directions on most products. In fact, you often forgo using the product altogether.

7. There’s a coupon organizer in your purse or car (extra credit if it includes a calculator).
You hold up the line during your extreme-couponing outings. (Extra credit if it goes on for longer than an hour).

8. You save rubber bands or twist-ties.
You sell all the rubber bands or twist-ties you've saved.

9. The chocolate milk you were served as a kid was heavily diluted with regular milk.
The chocolate milk you were served as a kid was made from regular milk with a couple Hersey bar shavings in it. ("No more than two slivers, Jimmy. We don't want to get greedy now".)

10. You have a loyalty card to any thrift store chain.
You don't need a loyalty card at any thrift store chain. All the employees know you by name.

11. You can sew a button, darn a sock, or repair a seam.
You can forgo buttons, socks, and sometimes pants.

12. You firmly believe that vinegar and bleach are the only two household cleaning products anyone really needs.
You just don't clean your house.

13. Your family holds a contest to guess how much money is in the change jar every six months.
I'm not sure how this relates to being frugal. What happens to the change after?

14. A little mold on bread or cheese doesn’t cause you to immediately toss it.
The mold on your bread is the cheese.

15. There’s an almanac somewhere in your home.
Your home is made of almanacs. (I don't know... I'm reaching here).

16. You know the technique for properly canning food.
You've only eaten canned foods.

17. You know what Green Stamps are.
You were so frugal with Green Stamps, you still hoard dozens of them.

18. Your medicine chest has at least two hotel soaps or bottles of shampoo in it.
You only use hotel soaps and shampoos.

19. You know how to change the oil in your car (even if you don’t always do it yourself).
You change the oil in your car and replace it with self-filtered oil from your last change.

20. The primary toys of your childhood were wooden blocks, the great outdoors, and a tire swing.
You had no toys, only your imagination. (This is getting sad...)

21. You know the balance of your checking account (within $5.00) at all times and without looking.
Checking account? Is that what you call the big pile of money under your bed?

22. Negotiating the price of a used car inspires a sense of adventure and thrill.
Stealing a used car inspires a sense of adventure and thrill.

23. You know the secret magic that’s contained in every bottle of furniture scratch cover.
It's not a good piece of furniture unless it has a good scratch in it.

24. You have a secret stash of used, neatly folded gift wrap from previous holidays and birthdays.
Gift wrap? See #2.

25. You regard empty butter and yogurt containers as a reuse challenge, not trash.
Butter and yogurt are luxuries for the rich.

26. At least three pieces of your household furniture were acquired through dumpster-diving, a yard sale, an estate sale, or thrift store.
At least three pieces of your household furniture are cardboard boxes or milk crates.

27. You brag to friends about how much you saved instead of how much you spent.
Your friends beg you to spend money on personal hygiene. You laugh at them.

28. You can calculate any product’s price-per-ounce in mere seconds.
If it doesn't come in bulk and measured in pounds, you don't want it anyway.

29. Your dryer sheets have three times the life expectancy of other people’s.
You don't own a dryer and you beat your clothes on the clothesline to make them soft.

30. You rinse out laundry detergent bottles and cut open toothpaste tubes to get at the last bit of product.
Fact: those hotel soap bars work well in cleaning both your clothes and your teeth!

So, how does your childhood compare? Were your parents cheap or just frugal?

Can Koala, you're my only friend....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Things to Post

This was in my "drafts" folder from way back (November 2011)...
Not sure if I was going to add anything, but figured I'd post it.

"Moses Bridge":
(via THD)

Creepy/Cool "dance" clock
Here for the moving version.
(asriran via Neatorama)

More Disney Racism!

So I recently posted a song from the movie Dumbo that is, while clever, incredibly racist.

This got me thinking about the song 'Arabian Nights' from Aladdin.
I had seen it on TV a few years back and was a bit annoyed that they changed the opening lyrics.
Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face (old)
Where it's flat and immense, and the heat is intense (new)
It's barbaric, but hey, it's home
Not only are the new lyrics cut really poorly (this may actually be my biggest issue with the change...), but why bother trying to sweep this under the rug?

Listen and compare the two versions below:

New Song:

Old Song:

If they're going to try to hide a couple verses from a song, I can think of several scenes from other movies that are far worse.
(Continued after the break!)


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Song of the Moment: Dumbo - When I Seen an Elephant Fly

Don't know why but I had this song stuck in my head....

Despite it's overt racism, it's a very clever song. Full of puns (and I do love puns).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

cdza music

While getting lost in the internets, I stumbled upon cdza music's 'History of Wooing Women'.

It's an awesome idea and nicely highlights how awful popmusic has become.
Just wish his voice was a little stronger. It works for doowop but, once he hits the Beatles, he starts to struggle.

However, after watching that one, I checked out their YouTube page and was pleasantly surprised with their 'History Of Lyrics That Aren't Lyrics' (the vocalist's voice may have contributed).

And this one was just impressive:
'An Abridged History of Western Music in 16 Genres'
One take???

Anyway, be sure to check out their YouTube page for more.
It's always nice to support musicians who are actually good at their craft and respect the history.

Song of the Moment: Hunter Hayes - Wanted

Sappy country love song.

The music video is a little lame, but he's young (20 years old... I feel ancient).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Train - 50 Ways To Say Goodbye

So, Train has a new song out.
Train's new song isn't very good.
Train's new song also sounds suspiciously like Andrew Lloyd Weber's theme from 'The Phantom of the Opera'.

Have a listen:
(I cut to the parts where they sound alike, but definitely give the full songs a listen).

Train: (0:35, but it's part of the chorus)

The Phantom of the Opera: (0:18)

Andrew Lloyd Webber is notorious for ripping off old classics but, in this case, it seems like he is the one being copied.
(thanks to emoony)

That said, I do still like Train...
Anyone want to see them in concert?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Goodbye Joos

So there's a Groupon today for drink called Joos. (Never heard of it before, is it new?)

I see what they're trying to do with the clever spelling, but when I first read it, I didn't think "juice".

I thought:

Might just be me though...
Anyone else?

Monday, July 9, 2012

New Game: Cargo Bridge

Just discovered a new game on Google Chrome (though I'm sure you can play it on other browsers).

Cargo Bridge is another bridge building game, but it is rare that I can utilize my engineering training in games, so I almost have to play them when I can.

It's very similar to other bridge building games, but there's a nice UI switch when you're in bridge-building mode vs. simulation mode.

Obviously blueprints are for design work:

And Marioland look-a-like is for simulation running:

You can see there's a budget (upper right-hand corner) and in later levels you have the option of using wooden or steel linkages.

Again, here's the link: http://webstore.limexgames.net/cargo_bridge/index.html
You can also find it in the Chrome web store. (I've also noticed there are no ads when you play via Chrome app).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pictogram Rock Posters

Per my "new direction" initiative, this isn't really a value-added post, but there are multiple pictures and this is too cool to simply post on the Tumblr.

I like music, I like good graphics.

I want these posters:
(Click for larger)

(Viktor Hertz via THD) 

Not a huge Bowie or Iggy Pop fan, so I didn't get most of those...

Can anyone get them all?