best when viewed in low light



Can't stop listening to this. Like the best of The Roots, it makes me want to cry, burn something and let my heart explore from pure joy...all at the same time.

Thank you.


Couldn't Agree More

Like cavemen attempting to represent the diversity of animal life using shades-of-brown inked hand prints, we "modern" humans are just learning to explore the latest communications medium: the internet.
Internet advertising is just one of those hand prints.

And Lee Clow is the only one looking for crayolas.

Virtual Consumption

Why buy Ikea to furnish you RL house when you can buy it for your virtual family in the Sims? Or, hey, why not both?!Though the initial, gamer/counter-culture response to this will likely be negative, I have a counter-argument:

What if we could move all our brand-conscious, status-projecting consumption desires into the virtual world? Mass production and consumption could become bits of virtual human hierarchy, pervading only our imagined identity, rather than absorbing real life resources (human, capital and material)? Imagine what we could do with all that extra energy?

[We could spend it playing videogames!]

But seriously, we are facing an inevitable decline in available resources in the real world, but our human desire to compete and to broadcast our material status will never end. And it shouldn't, it's part of our evolutionary drive, and there's nothing wrong with that.

[And the universe could care less if our species dies out or adapts.]

Given that the efficient use of energy (a fist-sized chunk of coal to move 1 megabyte?!) needs to start pervading general attitudes in the electric communications realm, this could actually be a positive move.

[Less Ikea furniture in the real world would be good for everyone.]

From the NYT, for posterity:
May 29, 2008

Entering Virtual Worlds for Real-Life Pitches

IN 2002, when Electronic Arts signed a multimillion-dollar agreement with McDonald’s to place virtual burgers in an online version of its popular Sims video game, the move drew protests from players who resented the commercial intrusion.

But the Sims, a virtual family designed by players, are only becoming more brand-conscious. Starting in June, people who play The Sims 2, the current version of the game, will be able to buy a “stuff pack” (on a disc or online) that lets them decorate their simulated families’ homes with Ikea furniture. Last year a similar deal was made with H&M, the Swedish clothing retailer, that lets players buy a disc full of H&M-branded clothing for their Sims avatars.

While most other “stuff packs” contain generic accouterments — one called “Glamour Life,” for instance, lets players pick from label-free furnishings and evening gowns — the Ikea pack will let players move items like the Ektorp sofa and the Leksvik coffee table into their families’ virtual homes.

Electronic Arts, the world’s largest video game company, said it made the deal with Ikea, the Swedish furniture manufacturer, in response to requests in online players’ forums for more modern, realistic furniture.

“Because we have such a direct relationship with our players, the players help shape the product strategy,” said Nancy Smith, president of the Sims label, which has sold more than 100 million copies.

The deal is yet another example of how the traditional lines between paid-for content and marketing material are blurring in the media world. Companies that sell products and services are increasingly eager to place their wares inside television shows and other media rather than relying on stand-alone commercials. Media companies like Electronic Arts, meanwhile, are looking to sponsorship deals to help recoup the growing cost of developing games.

For marketers, the huge fan bases for some video games are a potentially rich target audience. In one recent blockbuster release, Grand Theft Auto IV sold more than six million copies in its first week. The Grand Theft Auto series is published by Take-Two Interactive, which Electronic Arts has been trying to buy, though it has persistently been rebuffed.

In addition to sponsorship agreements like the Ikea-Sims deal, game companies have been trying to sell advertising space and time in games, often on billboards or other elements of the virtual backdrop. In games played online, ad space can be sold across networks of games for specific time periods, as it is on television.

But analysts say that advertisers have been skittish about such ads, in part because of their limited reach. Some networks, for instance, work only with games played on a single system like Microsoft’s Xbox or Sony’s PlayStation.

Other advertisers may worry about placing their brands in controversial material. The Grand Theft Auto franchise is notorious for its violent and sexually laced content, and the latest title contains only spoof ads, for products like the “new iFruit phone,” which resembles Apple’s iPhone but is promoted with this pitch: “No buttons. No reception. No storage capacity. All ego.”

Michael Goodman, an analyst at the Yankee Group, said that last year, marketers spent about $180 million on in-game advertising, including sponsorships like Ikea’s deal. He has predicted that spending would rise to $332 million this year, but said he was considering lowering that forecast slightly, as growth seems to be slower than expected.

For marketers seeking a safe environment for their brands, tie-ins seem to offer a measure of control. Also, by putting the name of the sponsor brand on the game’s packaging, they go beyond simple product placement deals like Electronic Arts’ arrangement with McDonald’s (a similar deal with Ford Motor allows people who play Sims online to download virtual cars at no charge).

“Ikea sees this as a new channel to reach the young and the young at heart,” an Ikea spokeswoman, Charlotte Lindgren, said in an e-mail message.

The “stuff packs” will cost about $20.

The Ikea partnership with Electronic Arts is similar to the deal with H&M, though that promotion also allowed players to take part in a fashion show. A winning design will be sold in actual H&M stores this summer.

Steve Seabolt, vice president for global brand development for The Sims, said Electronic Arts was pursuing similar arrangements with other companies. He declined to say which one might be next, but named as potential partners consumer electronics companies, like Philips, Electrolux and Sony, as well as brands like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pepsi, Coca-Cola and Borders books.

The Sims 3 is set to be released next year, with new features like a town center that has plenty of virtual storefronts (read: opportunities for advertising).

Electronic Arts and Ikea declined to provide financial details of their agreement. Mr. Goodman, the Yankee Group analyst, said that while advertisers typically pay for space upfront, in this case the two companies might have agreed to share revenue from sales of the software discs.

Mr. Seabolt of Electronic Arts said his company was willing to be flexible for marketers considering The Sims. “This is anything but a one-size-fits-all proposition,” he said. “We make a huge effort to sit down with clients and really understand their marketing objectives.”


The White Problem

May 29, 2008
Portland Journal

Racial Shift in a Progressive City Spurs Talks

PORTLAND, Ore. — Not every neighborhood in this city is one of those Northwest destinations where passion for espresso, the environment and plenty of exercise define the cultural common ground. A few places are still described as frontiers, where pioneers move because prices are relatively reasonable, the location is convenient and, they say, they “want the diversity.”

Yet one person’s frontier, it turns out, is often another’s front porch. It has been true across the country: gentrification, which increases housing prices and tension, sometimes has racial overtones and can seem like a dirty word. Now Portland is encouraging black and white residents to talk about it, but even here in Sincere City, the conversation has been difficult.

“I’ve been really upset by what I perceive to be Portland’s blind spot in its progressivism,” said Khaela Maricich, a local artist and musician. “They think they live in the best city in the country, but it’s all about saving the environment and things like that. It’s not really about social issues. It’s upper-middle-class progressivism, really.”

Ms. Maricich, 33, who is white, spoke after attending this month’s meeting of Portland’s Restorative Listening Project.

The goal of the project, which is sponsored by the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, is to have white people better understand the effect gentrification can have on the city’s longtime black and other-minority neighborhoods by having minority residents tell what it is like to be on the receiving end.

Once armed with a broader perspective, said Judith Mowry, the project’s leader, whites should “make the commitment that the harm stops with us.” That might mean that whites appeal to the city to help black businesses or complain to companies that put fliers on the doors of black property owners encouraging them to sell.

Yet what has been clear from the meetings this month and last is that talking about the impact of gentrification is easier than finding ways to reduce it. For some minority residents, the notion that white Portland now says it feels their pain is cold comfort.

“That’s been our history,” Norma Trimble, who is Native American, said during the question-and-answer session this month. “They take all you’ve got. They take your land. Now they want your stories.”

Oregon has always had a complicated relationship with race. When Oregon became a state in 1859, its Constitution specifically prevented blacks from becoming residents, a law that remained on the books for more than 60 years.

Today, Oregon is just 2 percent black, and Portland is about 7 percent black. On May 18, an estimated 75,000 people turned out to hear Senator Barack Obama at a rally, and most were white. For some, that was evidence that Portland’s liberal mind-set transcends race. For others, it just meant Portland prefers its diversity in fresh packaging.

Portland’s black population grew significantly during World War II, when blacks surged in to work the shipyards. At the time, real estate restrictions largely confined black families to a neighborhood called Vanport. But when the Columbia River flooded 60 years ago, the residents of Vanport were dispersed, and many blacks moved to the city’s Northeast neighborhood. Freeway construction later leveled other black areas. A new hospital took out still more. Now, in the name of economic development, Portland has been improving streets, sidewalks and transportation and offered grants and loans in minority neighborhoods. While the improvements are welcome, many blacks said in interviews that they do not seem designed for them, but more to raise housing prices and lure in newcomers. Blacks who have lived in the Northeast most of their lives say they no longer recognize their old neighborhood, much less feel comfortable there.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Northeast, white cyclists in sleek helmets pedal past groups of young black men whose faces are hidden beneath hoodies. Buses rumble by, too, the only transportation alternative for some residents, not just a green alternative.

“It’s not drug infested, but then you say, ‘Well, what happened to all the black people that were in this area?’ ” said Margaret Solomon, 84, who is black and has lived in the neighborhood for more than 40 years. “You don’t see any.”

It is a white world now, Ms. Solomon said: “They’re sitting around with their bikes and out on the sidewalks and all that. It’s rough to imagine.”

Though the black population has declined in some black areas, including Northeast, it has increased somewhat in the city as a whole. Some blacks have left Northeast by choice, moving to other neighborhoods or the suburbs, and some bought and sold property in the area to their advantage. Neighborhoods change for many reasons, and Northeast was white before the Vanport flood. Still, many black residents said they felt they were not the preferred demographic.

Floyd Booker, who spoke during the April meeting of the Restorative Listening Project, was one of several black residents who told of being unable to get bank loans or city grants even as whites, in their view, seemed to have no trouble. Mr. Booker’s business, Courtesy Janitorial Service, is one of the few black-owned businesses left on Alberta Street, now a collage of trendy shops and strollers more likely being pushed by white mothers.

“Where’s this meeting going?” Mr. Booker, 85, said in an interview days later. “No place. People get there and vent their frustrations, but who hears it?”

Several blacks echoed that concern in interviews after the meetings, while many whites — and the audiences were overwhelmingly white — said the meetings had been invaluable in helping them see another point of view. Whites often nodded sympathetically, even gasping at times, as they heard blacks tell stories of discrimination and of feeling betrayed by the city in its quest for economic development.

Ms. Mowry, the project’s leader, describes it as being rooted in restorative justice, similar to the type applied in the truth and reconciliation commission after the end of apartheid in South Africa.

The meetings have had awkward and tense moments, too. Last month, Joan Laufer, who is white and who moved into a house in Northeast in 2006, stood up to express gratitude to a black minister for describing how hard it was for blacks to get home improvement loans and for addressing some sensitive stereotypes.

“I’ve learned two things about all you guys already — why the houses aren’t fixed up and why you guys are riding around in all these big flashy cars,” Ms. Laufer, 55, a nurse practitioner, said.

At one point, she also asked blacks what she should call them — blacks or African-Americans.

An older black woman in the front replied, “People.”

Another black woman, toward the back, said, “Donna.”

Ms. Laufer offended some, but she said in an interview a few days later that she had meant well, that she felt enlightened by what she heard at the meeting and hoped to be able to discuss her feelings about race honestly with blacks. Unlike some other whites new to the area, she was not aware of the city’s history when she moved there. The price was right, that is all, and Mrs. Laufer loved the front porch.

“I’ve chewed on that meeting like I’ve never chewed on a church sermon or anything my entire life,“ she said. “I just want to be in a nice neighborhood, and so do all these other people.”

The Bear Market

It's Wall Street, Without the Cash
With Only Memories to Trade, Bear Stearns Employees Awaiting Sale to JP Morgan

By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 29, 2008; C01

NEW YORK, May 28 -- What's truly odd about the demise of a Wall Street firm, it turns out, isn't the noise of the implosion but the quiet of the rubble. A post-calamity hush has settled over Bear Stearns's Manhattan headquarters. Traders who haven't left their desks for years take two-hour lunches. The phones rarely ring. A company with 14,000 employees, once known as the scrappy bantam of the financial world, is a zombie in a dark-blue suit.

Thursday, this undead corpse is going to bury itself. Or that's the expectation, anyway. Shareholders are scheduled to vote in New York on the reduced-for-clearance sale of the company to rival and next-door neighbor JP Morgan Chase. The price -- $10 per share -- would have been about as welcome as an obscene gesture last year, when Bear shares traded as high as $171. But in the span of a week in mid-March the firm basically vaporized.

"We knew it was a storm, but we didn't know it was the storm," recalls Fares Noujaim, a Bear Stearns vice chairman.

On Tuesday afternoon Noujaim, who is 44 and dressed in an impeccable pinstriped suit, is standing in his office on the top floor of Bear's headquarters. Movers have just shown up to haul away his furniture, which Noujaim paid for and which he's taking with him, wherever he ends up. All that is left is a killer view, a phone and a two-screen computer monitor on a bare floor.

"There was a TV here, a mirror over there," he says, gesturing around the room. He points to the ceiling. "I put in the recessed lighting."

Obviously, the lights stay, but nearly everything that can be wrapped up and packed at 383 Madison Ave. is on its way out the door, if it hasn't left already.

You think your office is depressing? Try a company where as many as 10,000 employees could soon be laid off. For added grimness, imagine a company that's been taken over by a former enemy. JP Morgan sent in "transition teams" on March 17, the day after the deal was announced. Job interviews have been underway for weeks, though in this case the candidates already have jobs and the interview is to determine whether they can keep them.

To say the least, this has been kind of awkward.

It's as though an opposing army has invaded and is trying to be courteous about finishing off the POWs, says a Bear employee, who, like others interviewed for this story, did not want to be identified for fairly obvious career reasons. "You knew they were going to hold you in prison, and you had to do everything they said. Or else they'd kill you."

* * *

Noujaim presses the elevator button to head down to the fixed-income trading floor, part of a quick tour he has offered to give a reporter. He's trim, intense and, at the moment, pretty distracted. He's about to land a job with a different firm, though he's still conducting Bear business. "I work for this company, and I'll continue to work for it until it's gone," he says.

Everyone else here appears to be socializing in somber groups of two or three. A lot of the offices are empty but for a desk and chair. The atmosphere is what you'd imagine at a Broadway show that's been canceled.

"Have you figured out what's next for you?" Noujaim asks a woman he greets on the elevator with a pat on the back.

"Well, I've got a few options," she replies. She mentions two of those options, but before she can get to the third, the doors open and Noujaim is on his way.

"Good luck," he says.

The fixed-income trading floor has row after row of computers and black chairs, an indoor prairie that looks two acres in size. At full bustle, rooms like this convey the blood lust that is capitalism at its most carnivorous, and when Bear was alive and well, Noujaim says, you'd have to shout to make yourself heard in here. The ceiling tiles were designed to reduce noise. Now, most of the seats are empty. In the few that are filled, traders are reading newspapers, or idly chatting on the phone while a Microsoft logo floats around their sleeping monitors.

"This is deathly quiet," Noujaim says. "When this place was functioning, it was a battleground."

The proximate cause of Bear's passing was a good old-fashioned run on the bank. Hedge-fund investors, spooked by rumors that the company's balance sheets were awash in toxic subprime mortgage securities, drained it of so much cash that it went bust. Seventeen billion dollars flew out the door in two days in March. The asset transfer system, which wasn't designed for an exodus of greenbacks on this scale, froze for a while. Fund managers were said to be showing up in the lobby, demanding their money.

In a sense, Bear was gossiped to death. And the company fought back with what several employees consider a mediocre crisis PR operation, one that was complicated by a bit of bad luck. When Bear CEO Alan Schwartz was interviewed a few days into the meltdown, on March 12, his no-problems-here refrain was interrupted in mid-sentence.

"I'm sorry to jump in here," said CNBC anchor Erin Burnett, who suddenly appeared on the screen. "Breaking news, though, we do want you to know that we have New York state officials confirming that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer will resign today."

Schwartz's attempt at pushback was too little and it might have been too late, since the momentum against Bear was nearly tsunami strength by then and wiped out the company a mere five days later. The day of Schwartz's CNBC appearance was also the day Bear employees started to panic. Especially after a senior managing director stood on a desk and announced to a group of underlings that everything was fine.

"He was so adamant," says an employee, "that we all realized, 'Oh my God, we're not fine.' "

* * *

Everyone at Bear has contracted a mild case of sudden infamy. The company has come to embody the excesses blamed for what is all but officially a national recession, and it achieved something close to villainy after the Federal Reserve Board promised $30 billion to backstop the sale to JP Morgan. Protesters showed up in Bear's lobby, chanting "Help Main Street, not Wall Street." Schwartz was summoned to Congress, where he was gently barbecued. John McCain denounced "very greedy people" on Wall Street in a meeting with reporters and singled out Chairman Jimmy Cayne, "who decided the day before he was bailed out by the federal government to cash in millions of dollars worth of stock."

This is true, though Cayne's sale will be remembered on Wall Street not for how much it netted him, but how little. His shares were worth $61 million when he sold them in late March. They were worth about $1 billion last year.

After a quick stop at the cafeteria, Noujaim heads back to the 43rd floor, to one of the firm's "entertainment suites." Dinner for him and a few clients will be served here in a few hours. A waiter in formal black and white flutters in and out of the room, laying out bowls of nuts, readying plates of cheese. There's a fully stocked bar against a wall. It feels like the banquet room on the Titanic after the iceberg pierced the hull.

"Where else can you eat dinner with a view of New York like this?" Noujaim asks, looking out the window.

Noujaim is the son of immigrants from Lebanon and was raised in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn. He's a typical Bear Stearns employee, he says: No Ivy League degree or family connections. In the firm's parlance, he's a PSD, short for "poor, smart and desperate to be rich."

Bear set itself apart from competitors, Noujaim says, by encouraging employees to stay for their whole careers. To him, Bear expired because it was so much smaller than rivals and lacked the resources to weather what he thinks was essentially a storm of damaging whispers.

That, at any rate, is the view from the top. At lower pay grades, the blame is laid on Bear's somewhat insular corporate culture, which purportedly allowed mediocre managers to dominate fiefdoms long after those managers stopped innovating. For a long time Bear's unofficial motto, says a member of the prime brokerage division, was if it ain't broke don't fix it. When two of Bear's hedge funds collapsed, in July of last year, then-CEO Cayne was reportedly at a bridge tournament, incommunicado.

"To tell you the truth, I'm psyched to work for JP Morgan," this employee says. "I'm happy to get away from these knuckleheads."

The occupying force that JP Morgan sent has been reasonably humane, considering its task. No end-zone dances, no high-fives. A kind of there-but-for-the-grace civility has prevailed, for the most part.

Within Bear, the anger is directed at Bear's leadership. The atmosphere is so fraught that when Cayne, who is 74 and now the company's chairman, walks around the office he's accompanied by beefy security guards. Word around the company is that the guards are to protect him from his own employees.


Fun Can Learn You

Oh, those creative types over at Oberlin.

Why are they the ones that have figured out that you can learn something from having a good time?
Or maybe it's that you can have fun learning something? I dare say it?

Learning something can be fun?!

From that pesky NY Times:
May 26, 2008

How Green Is the College? Time the Showers

OBERLIN, Ohio — Lucas Brown, a junior at Oberlin College here, was still wet from the shower the other morning as he entered his score on the neon green message board next to the bathroom sink: Three minutes, according to the plastic hourglass timer inside the shower. Two minutes faster than the morning before. One minute faster than two of his housemates.

Mr. Brown, a 21-year-old economics major, recalled the marathon runner who lived in the house last semester, saying: “He came out of the shower one morning and yelled out: ‘Two minutes 18 seconds. Beat that, Lucas!’ ”

Another of Mr. Brown’s seven housemates, Becky Bob-Waksberg, racked up the morning’s longest shower: Eight minutes. The house cuts Ms. Bob-Waksberg slack, Mr. Brown said, because of her thick, curly hair, which takes longer to shampoo.

So it goes at Oberlin’s new sustainability house — SEED, for Student Experiment in Ecological Design — a microcosm of a growing sustainability movement on campuses nationwide, from small liberal arts colleges like Oberlin and Middlebury, in Vermont, to Lansing Community College in Michigan, to Morehouse in Atlanta, to public universities like the University of New Hampshire.

While previous generations focused on recycling and cleaning up rivers, these students want to combat global warming by figuring out ways to reduce carbon emissions in their own lives, starting with their own colleges. They also view the environment as broadly connected with social and economic issues, and their concerns include the displacement of low-income families after Hurricane Katrina and the creation of “green collar” jobs in places like the South Bronx.

The mission is serious and yet, like life at the Oberlin house, it blends idealism, hands-on practicality, laid-back community and fun.

“It’s not about telling people, ‘You have to do this, you have to do that,’ ” Mr. Brown said. “It’s about fitting sustainability into our own lives.” And hoping, he added, “that a friend will come over, recognize that it’s fun, start doing it, and then a friend of theirs will start doing it.”

With their professors as collaborators, and with their own technological and political savvy, students are persuading administrators to switch to fossil-free fuel on campus — Middlebury is building an $11 million wood-chip-powered plant, part of its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2016 — serve locally grown food in dining halls and make hybrid cars available for shared transportation when, say, the distance is too far to bike and there is no bus. Students are planting organic gardens and competing in dorm energy-use Olympics. At Oberlin last year, some students in the winning dorm did not shower for two weeks, officials said.

“This is a generation that is watching the world come undone,” said David Orr, a professor of environmental studies at Oberlin. Projects like the Oberlin house, he said, are “helping them understand how to stitch the world together again.”

Dr. Orr’s course in ecological design became the incubator for the house when Mr. Brown and the two other founders of SEED, Kathleen Keating and Amanda Medress, enrolled in it last spring. They had done research on sustainability houses at Middlebury, Brown and Tufts, and had persuaded the college to turn over an aging, drafty two-story house. But before they could move in, they needed to make the house energy efficient.

The class studied water and energy use, insulation, heating and cooling, and financing. Nathan Engstrom, Oberlin’s sustainability coordinator — an essential position on many campuses these days — gave advice. John Petersen, the college’s environmental studies director, checked out the house’s wiring.

The college spent $40,000 to renovate the house over the summer, bringing it up to safety code. Mr. Brown used the carpentry skills he had learned from his father to pitch in on weatherizing.

The students moved in last September. “We sat down and had a meeting — ‘O.K., what next?’ ” Mr. Brown recalled. “We didn’t know what it meant to have a sustainable house.”

That first night, amid confusion about who was home and who was out, they left the lights on. “We said, ‘Oh, no, we just had a terrible first day,’ ” Mr. Brown said. “ ‘We’re leaving lights on everywhere.’ ”

All year they studied together in the living room at night so they would not have to turn on lights in the other rooms. They mastered worm composting, lowered the thermostat — keeping it at 60 degrees for most of the winter and piling on blankets — and unplugged appliances. There is no television, but no one seems to consider that a hardship.

“You have the rest of your life to watch TV,” Ms. Keating said.

The unplugging of the refrigerator was not so easy. The house is divided in two, and each half has a kitchen. With everyone eating meals at a nearby student-run co-op, a decision was made to save energy by disconnecting the refrigerator and appliances in one kitchen. But which one?

“The fridge was kind of controversial,” Ms. Bob-Waksberg said. “We kind of had a little feud going on for a while. We talked it out.”

Now that the weather is warm, the residents of the house like to barbecue. Oberlin’s president, Marvin Krislov, dropped by with his young daughter a few weeks ago for burgers and grilled corn. Offering the ritual tour, the students demonstrated how they caught their shower and sink water in buckets and reused it to flush their low-flow toilet, a budget model improvised with a couple of salvaged bricks in the tank.

“He was using us to chastise his daughter for leaving lights on and the water running,” Mr. Brown said.

The bathroom is the showstopper on the tour. Besides the hourglass timer — Mr. Brown pointed out that it was called a shower coach and cost $3 online — the shower’s energy-saving motivational accessories include a picture of former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina plastered to the ceiling.

That was Ms. Bob-Waksberg’s idea. No one wants to linger in the shower with someone staring down from the ceiling, she said.

“You could also look at it another way,” she said, “that John Edwards is encouraging me to take a shorter shower.”

Why Mr. Edwards? “He had the strongest global warming policies of any of the candidates,” Mr. Brown said.

Ms. Bob-Waksberg, a religion studies major from California, was one of 25 students who applied to live in the house. With the house’s three founders looking for nonenvironmental studies types for diversity, Ms. Bob-Waksberg’s major, along with her confession that her environmental work had amounted to “various weed-pulling, clean-up-the-bay projects” back in high school, made her a shoo-in.

“We kind of roped Becky into sustainability,” Mr. Brown said.

Ms. Bob-Waksberg, along with Mr. Brown and carloads of other students, went to New Orleans to help after Hurricane Katrina. She will return to the city this summer to teach.

By next fall, the house’s 24-hour energy-use monitoring system will be fully up and running. Every turn of the faucet, every switch of a light, will be recorded, room by room.

The house, with its mismatched secondhand furniture, comic book posters and bicycles parked in the living room, is a popular meeting place for environmentally conscious student groups. Ms. Bob-Waksberg’s quirky, hand-printed signs (on recycled cardboard) admonish visitors to turn off lights and unplug appliances. The sign next to Mr. Brown’s electric keyboard in the living room says: “The music was beautiful. Now go do your homework and don’t forget to unplug me.”

“My keyboard,” Mr. Brown said, “is one of my indulgences.”

He confessed to another one. Sometimes, he said, “on a Friday after a long week of finals, I have to have a bath and a beer.”

What about the shower timer? He laughed, sheepishly.

“I hide it on the floor,” he said.


I'm on summer vacation

Yeah, right!

What's a vacation?

But for now, most of my new posts will be appearing at The Elizabeth Boop Society.


Giving It All Away

Funny that the US Military has published their counterinsurgency manual.

Again: they published their counterinsurgency manual!

Anyone see a conflict here?


Hey Ladies!

Why should you be the next... oh fuck it.

Tell them why you should be the next woman in the game industry...and maybe the first one to make a hit big enough to pave the way for the female hordes waiting outside the gates.

Free us!

Details here.


Blame Game

One of my secret initiatives is the plan to rapidly decrease the electrical energy required to power entertainment equipment.

Think of the electricity bill Facebook is...oh geez...facing when they connect the total 60,000 servers necessary to power a 3D, immersive social networking experience.

Where are the matching, self-sustaining Facebook solar panels required by law to power said servers?


I LOVE New York

In Hudson, NY right now and I've determined what's so great about "upstate." It's where the rich and arty New York City residents can come and garden and feel like "regular people."



Roots Tear Me Up

On the latest album, entitled "Rising Down", these gentlemen take it to yet another level of thoughtful musical transcendence. Can't stop the rewind.

In the past...