Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quiet Week

We've had a quiet week here in central Florida mostly because the summer heat is kicking in big time. The daytime temps are up in the 95 degree range with things "cooling down" at night to the high 70's. The humidity is always 100%; water actually condenses on my glasses when I'm out riding every morning. We were hoping for some excitement when we got rid of a bunch of the worst sort of lunatics Saturday at 6pm, but that didn't seem to pan out.

Speaking of bike riding, I'm continuing to add to my distance. Last week, I ended at 6.9 miles at an average speed just over 9mph. With the distance I've added on this week, I should be getting close to 8 miles (especially today; got lost on the back streets of Lake Mary and ended up taking a bit of a detour). Once I get up to 10 miles, I'll start working on getting my average speed back up to 11-12mph, then start adding distance again.

I did finally get the photos from our second trip to Epcot sorted and uploaded to Flickr. I added them to the end of the set from earlier this year. It's mostly shots of all the gardens and topiary put in by HGTV. Not that there is much else in the back part of Epcot. It all seems a bit pointless unless you are into eating a full meal every three feet and buying useless tchochkies (a word that spell-check wants to change to "crotchless"...). But the gardens are nice.

I see Flint, MI is number one at something: violent crime. Again. It was the murder capital for two or three years running back during the crack cocaine wars in the mid-1980's until our nation's Imperial City bumped Flint out of first place. Good to see the ol' hometown getting back on its game.

Whenever illegal downloads have been in the news, I've stated that if you make legal downloading logical and cheap, you could print money. Well, Netflix seems to be proving that out. Granted, there will always be a group of hardcore geeks who copy and/or download illegally. They are impossible to stop because if I can listen to it or watch it, I can copy it. A 1080p video camera on a tripod pointed at our 1080p 42" TV and plugged into the headphone jack can easily make a better-than-VHS copy (and probably better-than-standard-DVD copy) of any Blu-Ray movie. Copy that to a bag full of cheap 5G memory sticks and pass them around to a hundred or so of my closest friends. No existing or proposed copy protection method will even slow me down. But if I and my closest 100 or so friends are willing to go to all that trouble and expense to avoid the $1 Redbox rental fee, it's unlikely that even if the MPAA could somehow completely shut us down, that we will ever buy your damn movie. But what Netflix has done with streaming video is to make is so cheap and painless to legally watch movies on computers, game consoles, smart phones, etc., that for the masses, trying to save the $9/month fee for unlimited TV watching simply isn't worth the headaches of BitTorrent.

In news from Mars, Opportunity broke the 18-mile mark in early May. The Energizer Bunny ain't got jack on this little guy. Spirit seems dead-dead although attempts are still being made to make contact. I sincerely hope someone sticks a fork in the Spirit Recovery Committee before it becomes another mohair subsidy.

More good news:

Well, it looks as if one investigator is getting started: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating the mortgage securities operations of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley....

If Schneiderman's investigation -- and other others (hopefully) to follow --show the banks operated legally and merely were caught in proverbial 100-year flood, as industry defenders claim, all the better. If that's the outcome, Americans can take some solace and (perhaps) move on from this nagging feeling the "rule of law" has been suspended for those with the money, power and influence to buy more money, power and influence.

About damn time. Maybe the state's will finally do what Obama's AG is too chicken-shit to do. Maybe. We'll see.

Speaking of criminals in high places, Matt Taibbi has an interview with Vice about Goldman Sachs that is worth reading. Fair warning: some of the language will probably set off klaxons and flashing red lights in your employer's IT office, so save reading it until you're at home and the kids are in bed.

A pretty picture for everyone to think about:

And while everyone digests that, I'm off to digest a pot of ramen.

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