What Bugs Me About All the Damn Bailouts

What if Americans aren’t buying American cars because they aren’t buying any cars? What if no one else on Earth is buying cars either? What if this has nothing to do with gas prices? What if mortgages are failing because 


奥巴马 2008!

Courtesy of James Fallows, I learned that the Mandarin transcription of “Obama” is 奥巴马. I’ve written previously about the danger of “translating” foreign words from Chinese based on their characters, which are chosen primarily for their calligraphic appearance, not their 


Excitement Potential of Bicycle-Related Purchases

Helmet Shorts Cables, pedal cleats or chain (tie) Pedals, shoes, or saddle (tie) Weird specialized tools, e.g. crank puller Jacket or messenger bag (tie) Bar Tape Replacement drivetrain Retro team jersey Bicycle  


God’s Reputation

I’ve been watching this video of the convocation at a mccain/palin rally with a certain degree of ... fascination. like so many things happening in politics right now, it’s a train wreck of logic and common sense. let’s unpack it 


Nebraska’s New State Motto

Just now a coworker and I were discussing Nebraska’s surprising status as a potential swing state in the presidential election. I was trying to describe the cultural dynamic of a state that is “Western” on one half and “Midwestern” on 


Shorter Vice Presidential Debate

Sen. Joe Biden: I’m not gonna be the only person in this race without a compelling personal history.Gov. Sarah Palin: I’m a human firehose of words  


Seasons: Pacific Northwest vs. Midwest

The rains have started.I like this. This is why I moved to Oregon. I moved here for the cool and gray and damp and peaceful. And the seafood. Everything is better in Oregon in the “winter:” the beaches are empty, 


My Proudest Piece of Writing Ever

On Stumptown Coffee’s Facebook Page:I traveled back in time from the 28th century and constructed an elaborate cover life solely for the purpose of reviewing Stumptown coffee on Facebook. ITS THAT GOOD. ID GIVE IT ELEVENTY MILLION STARS IF I 


And Now: Politics!

I watched some of Katie Couric’s recent interview with Sarah Palin just now, and I had a sudden aha moment. I had previously seen some clips of Palin interviewed by Charlie Gibson and Sean Hannity, and had a weird sense 


How to Improve Open Source User Interfaces

Programmer Michael Thomas revisits an old theme: Why Free Software has poor usability, and how to improve it. This was a theme I heard a few times at OSCON as well. Thomas unfortunately gives no space to respond, but his 


Nine Women

...can’t have a baby in one month.The software and management world has known this since 1975 and yet, what happens every time I’m on a project with a compressed timeline?Someone has the bright idea that if you add more women, 


The Hill


Every day I ride my bike over the Hill. Well, almost every day. About one day in ten I don’t ride the bike at all — I ride the bus. About one day a week I’m too tired to ride 


Some Random Thoughts About Star Wars


This video (thanks, Scott) set me to thinking a little bit about Star Wars:I first saw Star Wars 31 years ago. A friend of the family named Jim took my family to see Star Wars in the theater ... we 


An Open Letter to Producers of Epic Fantasy Movies

This past Saturday, Jenny and I saw Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian at the Kennedy School’s “Family Matinee.”1 It was a good-enough movie I suppose, although a lack of alternatives (most theaters a) aren’t explicitly appropriate places for toddlers and 


Technique and Technology

You can use a Swiss Army knife to cut your fingernails in two different ways. Everyone knows the first way and has probably done it at some point in their lives (usually while camping) you open the little tiny scissors 


I Used to Think About This All the Time

The fetus grows toward soulhood. It began in the land of the unliving, of elements, of formless matter and energy. It was not one thing, it was many things. It had no spirit and no soul. The fetus spirit moves 


The Cost of Things

Jenny and I recently (re-)read Beverly Clearly’s Henry Huggins (because we’re having a son? because Cleary is from Portland? dunno why, really), which prompted a discussion about the prices Henry paid for things in (presumably) 1950. Life in 1950 was 


Paul Souders vs. a 2008 Subaru Forester


(A Quick Back-of-the-Envelope Calculation) Pm = price of a gallon of Alpenrose 2% milk at New Seasons = $3.89 Pr = price of a gallon (16 cups) of cooked white rice at New Seasons[1] = $0.35 Dfg = mileage of 


Something I Just Learned...

The traffic dangers of cycling fatalities are offset at least 10 to 1 by the cardiovascular health benefits.From John Pucher, via this video (around minute 23)Update: Also: “For every hour you spend cycling, you add more than an hour to 


China Earthquake and Digging Ditches

Sometimes I say things like “web design isn’t like digging ditches.” Meaning: more time ≠ better design The past week at Mercy Corps has proven that sometimes, web design is like digging ditches. Fresh on the heels of Cyclone Nargis, 


Mercy Corps’ Response to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar

Some of my friends are asking about Mercy Corps’ response to the Cyclone that’s affecting Myanmar. The short version is: Mercy Corps is mobilizing. The long version is: it’s complicated.Our situation is still in flux right now ... we don’t 


I Used to Be an Archaeologist


I spent a portion of my weekend sorting and cleaning some of my old bike tools. Mixed in with which were the bare core of my archaeological field kit. Said discovery occasioned me to reflect on a life I used 


Free Range Kids

With a kid on the way I’ve been thinking a lot about my own childhood and the way I was raised. In particular, I’m kind of floored at how few freedoms modern children have. I think a large part of 


Giving Away UI Design

Jeff Atwood blogged recently about UI-first software development. I’m a UI designer primarily so this is the only kind of development I ever do, really, but it definitely struck a chord. Atwood makes a pretty strong pitch for paper prototyping, 


The Way They Drink Their Coffee...

in Malaysia and Singapore: not very hot from a very fine ground in a pot that brews all day, deadly bitter, poured carefully over a thick layer of cream and sugar that you stir into it.in Belgium: from a stovetop 


“People who love this country can change it.”

Last night, the guy said, in almost perfect words, the thing I’ve felt my entire life. I’m the kind of cheesy patriot who can get misty-eyed during the Star Spangled Banner, but I’ve never bought the line of thinking that