Sunday, December 24, 2006

Forget Surfing Cleveland!

Surf Team - heads up!

The Observer (UK) breaks (ar, ar) the story of a mad professor who is advancing the sport!

Surfing in Switzerland or Kansas could become as popular a sport as it is in Hawaii or California as a result of a startling project being pioneered by a maverick oceanographer.

Professor Kerry Black, based at Waikato University in New Zealand, has developed a series of techniques aimed at taking surfers from the beach to the confines of inland pools and reservoirs. Now his technology is being pioneered in Florida.

The aim is to build artificial reefs and indoor surfing centres around the world in a few years, he says. 'Our innovation has the potential to turn surfing into a stadium sport where spectators can watch top surfers compete on an international circuit.'

The prospect of 50,000 spectators eating hot dogs and cheering on their teams of surfers has outraged many of the sport's purists. Surfing is for outdoor activists, they insist. Nevertheless, Black is confident he will soon be able to pull off his dream and make surfing a spectator sport that will rival football as a global entertainment.


The end result is the Versareef, a system of computer-controlled pneumatic jacks that lie beneath a tough rubber mat, which subtly alters its shape so that a rush of water, sent by a wave machine, is moulded into a powerful, curling surf wave.

Recent tests in pools at the Ron Jon Surf Park in Orlando, Florida have, according to the journal Nature, had an initially disappointing outcome. It was discovered the prototype reefs could not withstand the pressure of the waves generated inside the pool. But Black insists these flaws have now been overcome and recently announced that the first successful surfing waves were produced this month.

The project has generated immense interest in Florida, where thousands have already put down their names for membership of the Ron Jon Surf Park in anticipation of a successful outcome.

It would seem to take much of the natural variability out of surfing - but it could be a great place to practice the art...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today is Festivus

Today is Festivus - Happy Festivus everybody. We hope that all your grievances are aired and resolved amicably.

Today is also the Feast/Night of the Radishes, in Oaxaca, Mexico. (Presumably in Oaxaca, Oaxaca, too).

A uniquely Oaxaca expression of the Christmas season is the Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) on the evening of December 23rd, an evening in which the zocalo becomes the scene of a huge exhibition of figures sculpted from radishes. Often these figures are in scenes of the birth of Jesus or other scenes expressing the history and culture of Oaxacans. A contest is held with everyone vying for the first prize and having their picture in the morning paper.

Sounds like a worthy addition to celebrations here, though maybe for next year. (Although there are rumors of a Tea of the Cucumber being held in early January - along with the fruit of the agave - maybe that'll be our twist on the tradition).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Friday Tea will be held at Three!

Since Christmas weekend is fast upon us, WL as recommended that we scooch up the time of today's Tea to three (3) PM.

ED has graciously provided some wines from Bordeaux, a variety of cheeses from the continent, as well as some hummus and olives. A true Mediterranean feast!

Célébration! Noël joyeux et nouvelle année heureuse!

(and sorry about everyone who has to work next week)...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Solstice!

Today is the first day of Winter - at 7:22 (EST) this evening, the sun will start its journey northward - Summer can't be far behind!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Louisiana Purchase Day

It was on this day in 1803 that France turned New Orleans over to the US. The Louisiana Purchase Treaty had been signed on April 30th of that year, and on March 10, 1804 a formal ceremony held in St. Louis to transfer ownership of the territory from France to the US. (Real-estate transactions take so long). When purchased, the boundaries of "Louisiana" were not defined, and the land itself was generally unknown. In particular, not wanting to anger Spain, France refused to specify the southern and western boundaries.

Thanks to the efforts of President Thomas Jefferson, and emissaries James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston, we not only doubled the size of the US at around 3 cents per acre, we got a whole lot of cajun cookin and Le Quartier Français, not to mention a Southern Bastion de Jazz, creole and zydeco.

Coincidentally, AZ is off for a few days to the historical and cultural (not to mention atmospheric) vortex of New Orleans - hopefully she can escape the holiday festivities with "R" and take some of it in...

Engineering Lunch

Well, we're off to Redbones for some serious holiday chow.

The software summit is going well. What do we think about our package running on the Mac? Sounds good to me!

Oh, and the interface has to change completely. No worries, mate.

UPDATE: And while we're away, one might wish to play "Bash the penguin!". There are two versions, the cute, cuddly version, and the gory one.

Have fun!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Meetings, meetings, meetings

Today not only are we having a company-wide meeting, attendance at which is predicted to break all records, but we're starting a software summit as well. There's going to be a whole lot of planning, strategizing, yakking, and just plain sitting going on.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blogroll Addition

Today sees an addition to the venerable HSI blogroll, "I Am Bossy", Georgia Getz's veritable lifestyle forum. She purveys advice about

your sullen sister,

your fluorescent light fixture,

the poops in your pachysandra,

your nephew's impetigo,

and much, much more.

Who couldn't use more advice like that?

Just at the moment, she's got a column up about the history of brain surgery, and the sort of fall-out that can be expected. It's well worth the read!

It's a good thing that MG is back!

... And everybody else, stay away from outer Bombay!

Bombay frees killer leopards to roam wild in city
By Justin Huggler in Delhi
Published: 17 December 2006, The Independent

The authorities in India are about to release 47 leopards back into the wild - on the outskirts of the city of Bombay.

It is happening because Bombay, India's biggest city, with more than 16 million people, has spread so far it surrounds a national park that was once far from the city limits. Wild leopards thrived in the untouched jungle of the park, but as the city encroached, the big cats began to stray into the streets, stalk the suburbs and attack and even kill the inhabitants.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Caviar for Breakfast!

NR really should have birthdays more often. To celebrate we had two types of caviar, and a nice fruit plate. For us late risers, it was a fabulous breakfast.

Coupled with the possibility of more this afternoon for tea, along with the now-standard (well, mostly) cheese plate, it's turning out to be a great day for celebrating. CC is even in today - though whether she'll be around this afternoon is still to be determined.

For those of you who don't know NR, you might want to celebrate something else today. How about "Bill of Rights day". Quick - while we still have one...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

AZ attempts to move in half a day

It's AZ's moving day today.

She's moving into a gienormous condo.

Think she'll be done by noon?

UPDATE: Well, more like 3:00 PM, but that's par for the course.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

CP has a rude awakening

Rumor via WL has it that CP today joined MB on his daily morning swim in Walden Pond.

Even though the air temperature this morning was pretty mild for mid December, we can only surmise that CP wished that he had brought his wet suit. Brisk isn't just for iced tea...

If you're looking for more challenging conditions, Plotkin, why not try Surfing Cleveland.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Aretha sidelined

Sorry Aretha, about your not making the trip this time cross the Great Divide. It's been some years since your appearance at the Fillmore, but certainly you're still remembered there.

We're sure that Ivan will send you a postcard.

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!

And now, so too is Generalissimo Augusto Pinochet!

It's too bad - we really liked his wines (Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris)... He always had some mighty fine wine - too bad he didn't bring much Joy to the World, except apparently to Baroness Maggie Thatcher.

At least there'll be no problems with the Generalissimo claiming that he's not dead yet. (Unlike some other dictators we could mention).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Pearl Harbor Day!

OK, OK, today's the real day which which will live in Infamy.

NR and RA are off to class. For NR's sake, we hope that traffic on Route 2 will be light.

ED (and ID!) will doubtless continue to prepare for their trip to SF. SM is going too - those frequent flyer miles would be adding up if she were flying United.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Day which will live in Infamy

No, not that day.

The day that the auditors came to lunch with us. I believe that it's only a matter of time before we win them over.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tea update

Turns out that ED won't be here on Friday, either.

This means that no quorum of the committee will be around. Perhaps this tea will have to be be canceled.

Friday Tea

Oh, and since NR and RA will be away on Friday, it looks like ED will have to make due without them in preparing for Tea this Friday.

Good luck, ED!


Someone has left a fruitcake in the kitchen.

It's pretty tasty.

As usual with fruitcakes, though, approach at your own risk.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Lessons learned

Levitz is bigger than we thought.

In-N-Out Burger is out.

All researchers in California have names starting with "A".

Sushi is big there. (Literally - the Nigiri are about twice the size as here).

USA Today is as insipid there as here.

Mark Morford really does write a column in the San Francisco Chronicle. The San Francisco Chronicle does exist in dead tree form - it's not just a web-only phenom.

KQED TV and Radio are not just mythical figments of WGBH's fevered imagination.

Web TV, Yahoo, McAfee, all have buildings visible from the 8th floor of the Santa Clara Embassy Suites.

Birk's has a great sesame-encrusted Ahi, and only a small wait on Tuesday night, with reservations.

Californian's do not take kindly to cool weather - though they are well-prepared for the brutal 40-ish degree weather. At least one member of the staff at the reception desk layered her uniform over a thick waffled T-shirt.

Despite the cool weather, there are palm trees as far north as San Jose, and tropical plants in the gardens.