seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy


Miscellaneous topics

Replace Your Divots

I had a regular dermatology appointment on Thursday morning. In the past, I have had to have a few moles removed due to abnormality. I have an unusual abundance of moles and a family history that puts me at slightly elevated risk for melanoma. Also, Michelle had noticed a couple of moles that had recently changed color on my back (big warning sign).

Note: keep track of your moles using ABCD - Asymmetrical (they should not be), Border (if it is irregular), Color (changes are bad, mmmkay), and Diameter (smaller than a pencil eraser is preferable).

So I wandered into the U's Derm Clinic after several years without being checked out. Took 2.5 months to get the appointment after referral from my Doc.

After a full-body exam, they decided to take 4 moles. One was from my leg and has had a black spot for probably 7-10 years without change. This was something that was recommended for removal previously but not a big deal as long as it did not change.

However, as I had 3 on my back that they did not like, they figured they should take out on the one on my leg also. So I got a few punch biopsies. They sewed me back up and sent me on my way. I'll find out if there is anything that requires more investigation, but the chances are slim. Each of the moles showed only minimal chances of imminent catastrophe.

So I went back to work. Got progressively more sore over the course of the day. I forgot how much it sucks to get sewn back together. Can't climb for 2 weeks. Effectively restricted to button up shirts for a few days. Can't wave my arms around like a loon during the basketball games (Davidson for Final Four!).

At some point during the evening or night, I ripped open the stitches from one of the holes in my back - they are all on my mid-upper back on the right side. Didn't notice until I got up to shower the next morning and Michelle took the bandages off. She was taken by surprise at the open wound and got a bit woozy. So I gingerly found a way to cover it with a fresh band aid and decided to get it fixed up.

Got in touch with the clinic again, went back in mid-day and they fixed it with more stitches. So here I am. The pain is mostly gone and just slowly being replaced by itchiness.

The lesson? Put on sunscreen!! Avoid heavy sun exposure. Take care of yourself because it sucks to get divot-ed from time to time.

Edge Question

The Edqe Question asks: What do you believe even if you cannot prove it?

Chris Anderson (editor of Wired) answered:

The Intelligent Design movement has opened my eyes. I realize that although I believe that evolution explains why the living world is the way it is, I can't actually prove it. At least not to the satisfaction of the ID folk, who seem to require that every example of extraordinary complexity and clever plumbing in nature be fully traced back (not just traceable back) along an evolutionary tree to prove that it wasn't directed by an invisible hand. If the scientific community won't do that, then the arguments goes that they must accept a large red "theory" stamp placed on the evolution textbooks and that alternative theories, such as "guided" evolution and creationism, be taught alongside.

So, by this standard, virtually everything I believe in must now fall under the shadow of unproveability. Most importantly, this includes the belief that democracy, capitalism and other market-driven systems (including evolution!) are better than their alternatives. Indeed, I suppose I should now refer to them as the "theory of democracy" and the "theory of capitalism", to join the theory of evolution, and accept the teaching of living Marxism and fascism as alternatives in high schools.

Weekend Wrap-up

Saw Springsteen and the E-Street Band at the Xcel Center with some 20,000 other folks. Stunning. Great show. Thanks to Mom for suggesting we all go to it.

Watched a lot of basketball. March Madness, I love thee. Go Carolina, F Duke, blah blah blah. I missed yelling at the TV. I think college basketball in March is my favorite time of the year to have the TV on. Looking forward to watching nearly all the games in HD with daddYman.

California Opinion

In case you are interested, I published an opinion piece in a small northern California newspaper.

Famous Little me


Just wanted to note that I am famous.... again. I adapted a report I released back in Jan and they put it on the cover of broadband properties. You can read the pdf here.


Amanda and Kris have a baby girl! Veronika was born yesterday, 9lbs. 13 oz. You may remember Kris from previous comments - he posts as "dead fingers."



Call me urban-oriented. I'm frustrated by cuts in state funding to Minneapolis and St. Paul. I see some arguing that the cities still getting too much aid. They don't. We need to get more money to large cities.

Let's look at transportation - The Atlantic recently ran a short piece examining transportation in large cities.

The nation’s 100 largest metropolitan regions generate 75 percent of its economic output. They also handle 75 percent of its foreign sea cargo, 79 percent of its air cargo, and 92 percent of its air-passenger traffic. Yet of the 6,373 earmarked projects that dominate the current federal transportation law, only half are targeted at these metro areas.

You want this country to prosper? We need to solve the metro transportation problem. People are starting to move back into the core of cities (as prices in the suburbs rise and high gas prices make commuting even less desirable) which is only going to make this problem worse.

The United States has been dropping in terms of high speed network availability compared to Japan, South Korea, and other industrialized countries. Our transportation systems suck. If you are an innovative, growing business, where will you locate in the next 10 years?

America’s biggest and most productive metro regions gather and strengthen the assets that drive the country’s prosperity—innovative firms, highly productive and creative workers, institutions of advanced research. And the attributes of some cities are not easily replicated elsewhere in the U.S. The most highly skilled financial professionals, for instance, do not choose between New York and Phoenix. They choose between New York and London—or Shanghai. While many factors affect that choice, over time, the accretion of delays and travel hassles can sap cities of their vigor and appeal. Arriving at Shanghai’s modern Pudong airport, you can hop aboard a maglev train that gets you downtown in eight minutes, at speeds approaching 300 miles an hour. When you land at JFK, on the other hand, you’ll have to take a train to Queens, walk over an indoor bridge, and then transfer to the antiquated Long Island Rail Road; from there, downtown Manhattan is another 35 minutes away.

Here in the Twin Cities metro, we are about to build a $1 billion train connecting the two downtowns. It will run at grade and end up taking the same amount of time as the limited stop bus that currently only runs during rush times. It will be an improvement - higher capacity, more comfort, that sort of thing. But for $1 billion, it would be nice if it didn't run at grade through the Snelling/University intersection - which is already far too crowded.

And it would make a lot more sense to find a solution for commuters. The existing light rail line has brought many commuters to park and ride lots, but none are planned for the central corridor. We should build a large park and ride lot somewhere near 280 - which is pretty close to the center of the line. Charge a few bucks for parking and you'll still save commuters time, money, and hassle.

Of course, the private sector is investing in rail in a big way right now. The Wall Street Journal actually has a great piece on modern rail investments.

The upgrade is part of a railroad renaissance under way across much of the U.S. For the first time in nearly a century, railroads are making large investments in their networks -- adding sets of tracks, straightening curves that force engines to slow and expanding tunnels for bigger trains. Their campaign is altering the corridors of American commerce, more so than any other development since interstate highways spread to the interior.

Unfortunately, these trains are being built for goods, not people. We need to build faster lines to move people. Wasting oil to fly people from Rochester to the Twin Cities or from Allentown to New York, is foolish.


Look ma, I'm famous!

Upcoming Movies

I'm super exciting for some upcoming movies.

I have not yet seen any previews for this one, but Ali G is goin' legit ... temporarily.

THE creator of Ali G and Borat has been persuaded by Steven Spielberg to move from comedy to serious politics by playing a hippie opponent of the Vietnam war.

In The Trial of the Chicago Seven, Sacha Baron Cohen will portray Abbie Hoffman, a figure from the 1960s counterculture who used a series of pranks to campaign against the war.

Michelle and I joined James and Autumn for Juno at the Grandview Theatre last Friday night. What a movie!

Having just seen Juno - which was possibly the most delightful movie I have seen since Big Fish, I'm fairly excited for this apparent romp, Son of Rambow.

Robert Downey Jr. has been doing fantastic work and his next two movies look great! First is Ironman.

The previews to Juno revealed another promising Robert Downey Jr. film coming out called Charlie Bartlett but their site is unfriendly and I cannot find an embeddable trailer for this post.

Kung Fu Panda looks silly and fun.

I am excited for the sequel to Batman Begins - in which Batman takes on the Joker in Dark Knight. I've watched Batman Begins several times and I have to say it is one of my favorite comic book movies.

But the bestest, most awesomest movie I am totally pumped for is WANTED. Morgan Freeman (sweet Jesus, that man has an incredible voice - can we get him to debate George Clooney for hours on end???) and Angelina Jolie and a lot of questionable physics. This might be my new Transformers.

I also went to see Rambo recently - which made Saving Private Ryan look like a PG feel-good romp. Enjoyed it more than I thought I would - always good to see bad guys get their due. And raising awareness about the situation in Burma is a good side benefit.

U2 Manager on the Death of the Songwriter

Paul McGuinness, U2's manager, gave a silly speech claiming musicians are going poor because of online file sharing.

He [Steve Jobs] probably doesn’t realize it but the collapse of the old financial model for recorded music will also mean the end of the songwriter.

This is such an insanely stupid thing to say, I can hardly believe it hasn't been the first thing mentioned whenever any news story covers his speech.

The songwriter has existed long before there was such a thing as a financial model. Even if music were outlawed and no was allowed to pay money for music, songwriters would exist. Songwriting is an art. There are many more songwriters who do not make money than those who do. We can argue about the quality, but that is a fact.

Of course, I strongly the support the idea that songwriters should be compensated for their work. In fact, if you are interested in new (and some better!) prospects for financial models in the digital future, check out a great article by David Byrne in a recent Wired issue.

As for the rest of McGuinness's speech, I was glad to see a great response by techdirt.

In other news, the RIAA is an organization made up the big five music labels that sues people who have supposedly shared music online (violating copyright). They claim that they do this to protect songwriters but the songwriters barely see profits on sold music (except for the huge acts like U2 and the Boss). In fact, they do it because they are stupid (much like movie studios fought videotapes tooth-and-nail because it would surely drive them out of business!)

Also, new technologies increasingly allow musicians to distribute their own music rather than giving control to these massive corporations that then control them like puppets. The music labels have not evolved and I sure as hell hope this gives more power to the music producers rather than the music distributors.

We know who is on who's side when looking at a proposal to lower the amount that musicians make when a song is sold online (like on iTunes). The RIAA wants to lower that amount and Apple wants to lower it even more. Who is looking after the interests of the musicians?

At this point, I think musicians should all distribute their music from their websites in the same high quality formats available on I have purchased 4 mp3 albums now from amazon (look in left nav bar for "digital downloads") and the quality is far better than what is available on iTunes (256kbps VBR vs. 128kbps). But I would rather buy it directly from the musician.

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