July 2009 Archives



This great piece in the New Yorker captured all of my complaints about the Kindle. I flag, highlight and write in the margin of my books-- even a lot of the fiction I read. None of that can be done on the Kindle. Not even close.

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I was highly skeptical of this post but wound up liking it. (via @stevecase and creativityRulz

Here is a video summary of what NOT to do:



Here's how to brainstorm:


My friend's mother has this wonderful studio on her farm. I've always wanted a small collection of rooms like this in which to write and read. If you could design a set of rooms like this what would you put in there? I'll start: bookshelves, fireplace, record collection, map of the world, standing desk, guitars, bottles of ink, fountain pens, stationery, a gross of pencils, antique typewriters.

There would be a space for reading books that would be separate from the space for reading papers which would be separate from the writing spaces. There would be two writing spaces. One for handwriting letters another for work writing.

Oh and a chess set with weighted pieces, candles, a wall of pictures, huge chalk board....

That's my incomplete list and there are many more questions to be figured out. For example: would there be a space for company, or would it be a solitary place?


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"In the unusual length of the fourth finger is shown a diplomacy which could easily become intrigue, were it not held in check by the first or nail phalange of conscience."

From the second page of a fabulous four pages held at the Library of Congress.

Introductory page here
Awesome interview from WPA files with a stonecutter Mr. Garavelli
Photo: caption follows
"It was tough for everybody in the early days. Lots of stonecutters die from the silica. Now they've got new and better equipment; they've all got to use the suctions. It helps a lot; but it ain't perfect. Men still die. You bet your life my kid don't go to work in no stoneshed. Silica, that's what kills them. Everybody who stays in granite, it gets...I don't get so much of it myself. Maybe I'm smart. I don't make so much money, but I don't get so much silica. In my end of the shed there ain't so much dust. I can laugh at the damn granite because it can't touch me. That's me. I ain't got no money, but I ain't got no silica either. My end of the shed don't get so much dust. It's like a knife, you know, that silica. Like a knife in your chest."
In July 1981 a note appeared in Yosemite Valley - "$10,000 reward for anyone who can follow me for one full day. - John Bachar

2009: Climbing legend John Bachar, age 51, was found at the base of the Dike Wall in Mammoth Lakes, California yesterday. There are not many details at this point, but it's presumed that he was free soloing.

The Dike Wall is a beautiful cliff of pristine granite situated at 9,000ft above Mammoth Lakes where John lived with his son. John was climbing by himself and was found at the base of the 80ft North Wall.

SuperTopo has a thread up as a memorial to John.

(via Climbing Magazine and UKClimbing)


(via All Climbing)
I noticed a lot of people were searching for my spot as guest-host on Face the Nation so here it is.


Watch CBS Videos Online
Another great piece by Jonah Lehrer

"While a rat was running through one of these labyrinths, Wilson measured clusters of neurons in the hippocampus with multiple electrodes surgically implanted in its brain. As he'd hypothesized, Wilson found that each maze produced its own pattern of neural firing. To figure out how dreams relate to experience, Wilson recorded input from these same electrodes while the rats were sleeping. The results were astonishing. Of the 45 rat dreams recorded by Wilson, 20 contained an exact replica of the maze they had run earlier that day. The REM sleep was recapitulating experience, allowing the animals to consolidate memory and learn new things."

We re-live our days in our heads when we go to sleep. I remember learning this lesson in college about learning. I could really only hold on to something if I studied it over time and slept on it. It's why cramming never really worked for me. It still doesn't.