"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

"Red Mars" / Life is so Uncertain

Reading Red Mars, sociological sci-fi, gets me thinking about life in all its rich variety and how we never really know what's coming. The patterns that have led me to where I stand now, the wider world around me, and where I (and it) go next.

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Just Because You're Paranoid Don't Mean They're Not After You

Just to put some data in the chamber, I think Wikileaks is an important development. While the leaking of diplomatic cables is hardly cut and dry a blow for good, I strongly agree with the big-picture strategy. It's also clear that Julian Assange is being personally persecuted and the organization frozen out online. All of this has happened before. Keep that in mind when parsing the news.

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"The Big Short" / I Preach a Dark Future

Starting a new tag, "Things I Consumed," I'll tell you about the things that I read, ate, watched or otherwise consumed, but more what they made me think. First up is The Big Short, Michael Lewis' exploration of our latest financial bubble via the lenze of those who saw the end coming and had the balls to invest in collapse.

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I'mma Shed My Skin

I've been writing online at a relatively enthusiastic (if occasionally uneven) clip for nine years now. A lot of things have changed in all those days, and renewing my effort means taking a trip down memory lane to remember why, exactly, I started all this in the first place.

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Drupal 7 In The House

With the help of the fine folks at ToDrupal.com, I've upgraded to Drupal 7! This is still beta software, so bugs are to be expected, and I've already stubbed my toes in a few places. Have some ideas for ways to improve things too. Nothing like "scratching my own itch" to get the contribution train rolling again.

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Democracy Blues... err... Reds?

2010 mid-term election summary. Lot's of darkness, a couple points of light, and a Kleptones music video. Click "read more" for the full story.

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Update from Londontown

First week in the UK has been good. I've been finding a good groove of productivity in my timezone-offset haven, and enjoying the quasi-domestic ease of staying with Rina; cooking and cleaning up and stuff. Rina/Josh deathwatch day three: all quiet on the Western (London) front.

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This Is What Modern Class Warfare Looks Like

Since I'm over in London, I pick up on local news, which has been full of fallout from various austerity programs designed to roll back pensions, housing subsidies, etc. Firefighters, Tube workers, and BBC journalists are all threatening strikes. There's also been a lot of coverage of the widespread strikes/shutdowns in France.

At the same time, executive pay is up 55%!

Incomes Data Services, who conducted the research, said bonuses paid to directors of FTSE 100 companies increased by 34%, while basic pay rose by 3.6%. The amount of money waiting to be disgorged from long-term incentive schemes soared by 73%, to a total of £259m, and share option gains leapt by 90%.

The FTSE 100 rose by less than a fifth over the same period.

Steve Tatton of IDS said the report suggested that companies returned to "business as usual" once the recession ended.

This is an economics article, so it's important to note that the phrase "once the recession ended" refers to the technical end to contracting GDP. As we've increasingly seen by most other measures, the real impact of the "Great Recession" is likely to persist. Incomes for normal people remain depressed (or are falling) and unemployment is high. It is a "jobless recovery," and cold comfort indeed to anyone feeling the pain right now.

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Good Tidings We Bring

Brilliant wedding goodness out on Staten Island last night. Snug Harbor is a historical site, formerly a home for "old decrepit sailors" (literally, that's what the stained glass says) and now a great place to get married. It fit quite well with the signature style of Rachel and Jeremy; nautical themes, painted ceilings, and then finally a gorgeously art-deco ballroom for dinner and dancing. Very Gotham.

I know I don't blog very much that's exciting any more. In the nine years I've been writing here, my life has become significantly more routine. While I still find my own existence endlessly fascinating -- nobody ever went broke betting on narcissism -- I'm well-aware that these chicken scratchings have a limited audience.

But to the extent that this informational outpost serves a purpose of spreading news and rumor, it's a special pleasure to track the progress of my friends in life.

These kids are great together. Good things in their future, and good to see all the folks coming back together to send them off.

Oh and also, Nick Capodice is married, and his wife is a producer for RadioLab! That gave me a little celebrity thrill/crush.

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In Which I Trash-Talk Steve Jobs a Little

So, it's clear that Apple is starting to feel the heat from Android:

Steve Jobs doesn't usually make a guest appearance on Apple's post-earnings conference calls with analysts, but this time he made an exception, attacking Google for marketing its operating system as 'open' versus Apple's 'closed' iOS.

Jobs' points here are, not to put too fine a point on it, pretty weak. While Android isn't a utopian greenfield of openness, they are actually Open Source, and haven't pulled any crap like trying to dictate development tools. Steve's objection that vendors like Motorolla put some of their own secret sauce on top and "the user's left to figure it out" is also bogus. My Droid and my friend's HTC Incredible have subtle differences, but it's the same UI set. Moreover, users don't flit between these things. It's not confusing for them because they only have one phone, dude.

While I'm sympathetic to Jobs' point about the virtues of an integrated platform (e.g. there are some Android apps that have issues with the touchscreen keyboard on my Droid), I think he drastically overestimates his ability to anticipate what people want. The downfall of Apple is generally their ego. When they are wrong, it hurts them a lot, and they're slow to recover. In a fast-moving world, the open approach has a lot of advantages so long as you can keep the quality up.

I for one look forward to the Apple iPhone vs Android battle of the mobile Operating Systems. It's going to produce a lot more/better innovation than Windows vs MacOS. Neither company is currently dominant, and both are smart and creative and innovative. Should be good to watch what happens.

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