Monthly Archives: September 2009

With Latest Attack, Birds Send a Message to Humans, Sully | Daily Intel New York Magazine

With Latest Attack, Birds Send a Message to Humans, Sully

Last night, a Delta flight approaching La Guardia was the victim of a vicious kamikaze bird attack that left blood, feathers, and a surprisingly large dent in the nose of the plane (which landed safely).

Not at all coincidentally, it was announced the day before that Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, hero pilot of the Miracle on the Hudson and the sworn enemy of birds everywhere, would be returning to the cockpit as some kind of safety adviser for US Airways, which seems pretty appropriate.

Clearly then, this collision, with its unavoidably gruesome results, was a symbolic act of muscle-flexing. Just as Iran or North Korea test missiles when they feel threatened, the birds meant this as a message and a warning:

We are not afraid. We can strike at will. And your precious Sully cannot protect you.

Bernie Madoff Gored By Wall Street Bull

Bernie Madoff's wild ride  (Photo AP)

Bernie Madoff's wild ride (Photo AP)

I appreciate the sentiment expressed by this sculpture by Chinese artist Chen Wenling, but it’s confusing. What is coming out of the ass of this bull? How would you frame a critique of this piece?

The criminal is pinned to the wall of justice by a raging, avenging, fart powered bull, demonstrating that crime is dealt a swift, brutal and smelly blow.

Sometimes, I just don’t understand fine art.

The Future of Local News?

Newspapers are caught in a graveyard spiral. Reduced advertising budgets mean cuts in reporting staffs which in turn lead to less and less reporting on local news. People stop reading the paper because there is no content relevant to them.

EveryBlock is a highly localized new website that provides information about everything from crime to food establishment inspections, fire calls and car crashes. Is this what the future of local news looks like?

Scam Alert | You Have Been Selected

You may receive this happy announcement:

Hey! People like me if I pay them!

Hey! People like me if I pay them!

I am pleased to announce that Whiteboard Partners LLC has been selected for the 2009 Best of Chino Hills Award in the Industrial & Labor Consulting Services category by the US Commerce Association.

After the initial wave of ‘Yeah, I’m all that’, you start asking yourself, who is bestowing this honor.

A quick trip to the Better Business Bureau reveals this:

Recent emails notifying businesses that they have won prestigious awards from a national association appear to be part of a widespread scheme designed to get companies to pay for “vanity” awards and plaques.

A Google search produces a much more entertaining result.
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Showdown At The Web Corral: Convincing Your Boss to Fix a Hideous Website | Fast Company

Q: I work for a nonprofit with a hideous website. Hideous in the sense that the copy is generic and bland and filled with jargon. Supremely unsticky, in other words. Some of my colleagues and I have lobbied to change it but, whenever we suggest new copy, our executive director inevitably waters it down until it sounds like what we’ve already got. What can we do to convince her to stick-ify our site? – Stickless in Seattle

Read Article.

Study: Bad economy may be good for your health |

Are you finally ready for some good news about the recession? As it turns out, a shaky economy might actually be good for your health.

Read Article.

Green Tip | Disposing of Expired or Unused Prescription Drugs

I was cleaning out my medicine cabinet and found a lot of old expired drugs. Since none were resellable (just kidding), I wondered what to do with them. My first instinct was to flush them, but according to the California Integrated Waste Management Board:

The U.S. Geological Survey in 2002 sampled streams in 30 states. Of the 139 streams tested, 80 percent had measurable concentrations of prescription and nonprescription drugs, steroids, and reproductive hormones.

Exposure to even low levels of drugs has negative effects on fish and other aquatic species, and also may negatively affect human health.

The best way to get rid of old medications is to take them to a pick up center that can take household hazardous waste. If you live in California, this link will help you find the location closest to you.

If you live too far from a collection point, the Board of Pharmacy has this little ditty called, ‘Don’t Flush Meds’ for you do-it-yourselfers out there.

Want to Improve Democracy? Try Design Thinking | Fast Company

Better ballot design could have changed the results of the 2000 election. A better design for information sharing might have prevented 9/11. Now, could design thinking help fix something fundamentally broken in American democracy: how we engage in national debate?

Whether the topic is climate change, financial regulation, or health care reform, when asked to “discuss amongst ourselves,” the conversation devolves into who can shout the loudest, hurl the nastiest epithets, or pervert the facts to fit their own agendas. Can this process be saved?

Read Article.

How Generous Are We? | FAIR

A Facebook post that got overheated about the U.S. being the most generous nation in the world got my interest and I decided to check it out for myself.

It turns out we’re second to last, just before Italy, in our aid to other countries. Japan, Germany and France all provide a much bigger share of their GDP to countries in need. Worse yet, many of the dollars that get counted are pledges and not actual cash. Remember George Bush’s pledge to provide $15BN to African countries to fight AIDS? It’s like that.

The biggest recipient of foreign aid is Israel at 12% or our aid budget. Most of this are subsidies for weapons systems. I’m not anti-Israel, so hold up on the hate mail, but Israel is literally the only place on earth where you can find venture capital, so I don’t think they’re hurting financially.

Also, most people don’t realize that most foreign aid is provided in the form of loans:

Many aid recipients in the developing world are burdened by debt payments to the wealthy nations and institutions, often for loans taken out decades earlier by dictatorial regimes that squandered the money. While the developing world receives about $80 billion in aid each year, it pays the developed world about $200 billion; it is still uncertain how much of that will be relieved.

This article is a real eye opener.

PG&E quitting U.S. Chamber over climate change views | Reuters

PG&E quitting U.S. Chamber over climate change views | Green Business | Reuters.