Archive for the 'Coming to America' Category

Richard Paey released from prison

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Back in September 2005, I wrote about Richard Paey. According to Wikipedia:

Richard Paey is a Florida man who was incarcerated in 2004 for drug trafficking. There was no evidence he ever distributed or intended to sell any pills, but drug laws in many states, including Florida, allow officials to prosecute for trafficking based solely on the quantity an individual possesses. Paey spent three and a half years in prison, until he was granted a full pardon by Florida Governor Charlie Crist in September of 2007.

As the St. Petersburg Times reports, he was freed from prison today: Paey given full pardon; Crist orders him freed today

The people responsible for his spending 3 1/2 years in prison should be ashamed of themselves.

Sometimes I seriously worry about this country…

It’s ok to ask tough questions, everybody…

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

So why is it that a bridge collapses in the middle of the day, right in the Heartland…?

You tell me.

The folks at E-Democracy.Org have set up a wiki to capture citizen reports of this ongoing event.

Just in case this has caught anyone by surprise, the topic of over-aged and unter-maintained bridges all across the US has been around for quite some time.

Sunday hard rock V

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Ok, Sunday came early this weekend.

I’m enjoying a DVD of Revolutions in Music: Copland and the American Sound:

Keeping Score is the ground- breaking series by the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas. It’s designed to bring classical music to people of all ages and musical back- grounds.

This mini-series, Revolutions In Music, focuses on the meaning of music, with episodes devoted to Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Copland, highlighting what made their music so revolutionary, and why it is still so powerful today.

More about Aaron Copland and his Fanfare for the Common Man:

Fanfare for the Common Man is one of the most recognizable pieces of 20th Century American classical music. One of composer Aaron Copland’s most popular works, the fanfare is a short piece scored for brass and percussion written in 1942 at the request of the conductor Eugene Goossens.

I had a chance to hear the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas perform Mahler’s Seventh earlier this June (their live CD won two Grammy Awards last year). If you haven’t had a chance to see them in concert yet, take a look at their 2007-2008 season’s highlights. Some great music coming up.

Two years in the States

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

It’s been two years ago today since coming to America.

To celebrate, I wanted to share yesterday’s favorite Twitter (from atariboy):

overheard.. girl #1 about a boy: “I was like, i love you” girl #2 “like totally”

Yep, that’s California for you.

Anyway, still excited to be here as I head into my third year. And yes, there’s a growing urge to finally start something. You know, web stuff.

San Jose 95128: Reporting from Silicon Valley for German newspaper

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

I was recently invited to blog at (the online edition of Germany daily newspaper DIE WELT).

The blog is in German and is called San Jose 95128.

I’ll be covering people, events, startups and anything else that makes this place interesting. I’ll also try to pay special attention to any kind of transatlantic transfer of ideas between Germany and the US.

I’m always happy to hear from my readers. Comments are open. Feel free to let me know your thoughts or what topics you’re interested in.

Tonight! Tune in to Trackback radio show on Web Monday, Barcamp, others

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

If all goes well I’ll make it on tonight’s (Saturday) edition of Trackback. They plan to do a brief interview with me some time between 6pm and 8pm Berlin Time. We’ll be talking about Web Monday, Barcamp, pl0gbar, the upcoming re:publica conference (plus however many other unconferences, un-meetings or un-formats we can think of that have recently popped up in Germany).

Tune in, the Trackback blog should be open for comments. I might set up an IRC channel (if there isn’t one already). In addition, I’ll be available via Skype, Twitter etc. from about 5pm.

Plantjes en Bloemen IV

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

The saga continues. Garden season was officially declared open today.

Hey, squirrels! This is not your buffet. Get lost!

Shall outsmart them this time around.

Anyway, trying to breathe some life into dried weeds while cleaning up the remains of last year (mainly, dried weeds). Can’t wait for the first barbecue.

Train video poetry

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

If you like trains, check out this video (shot today). I must find out the whereabout of that motel.

If you’re not into trains, well, then this blog entry is probably of marginal value to you. So what.

Personally, I would even prefer sound over video (and an uncut version, too). And with that long a train, you’d get a 30 minute audio collage easy.

Ah, maybe a summer project…

Update: My next vacation destination. Will the wife buy it, though? Somehow, I doubt it.

Greetings from Washington, DC

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

It’s been a busy week. I have a few more hours to spend in sunny Washington, DC before I head back to the Bay Area. Lots of interesting content to digest, and a long list of people to follow up with.

Both South By Southwest Interactive as well as the Politics Online Conference 2007 were worth going, and I’ll try to be back next year.

Using Twitter extensively at SXSW was a fun experiment. To me, it was yet another glimpse into the future when everybody’s location will be a known fact at any given time more or less and where it will seem perfectly normal to make use of that information for the purpose of social interaction.

Global warming: How many excuses are there to do nothing?

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007

Two overall disappointing articles on global warming today.

Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post op-ed: Global Warming and Hot Air

Anyone who honestly examines global energy trends must reach these harsh conclusions. In 2004, world emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, the main greenhouse gas) totaled 26 billion metric tons. Under plausible economic and population assumptions, CO2emissions will grow to 40 billion tons by 2030, projects the International Energy Agency. About three-quarters of the increase is forecast to come from developing countries, two-fifths from China alone. The IEA expects China to pass the United States as the largest source of carbon dioxide by 2009.

Poor countries won’t sacrifice economic growth — lowering poverty, fostering political stability — to placate the rich world’s global warming fears. Why should they? On a per-person basis, their carbon dioxide emissions are only about one-fifth the level of rich countries. In Africa, less than 40 percent of the population even has electricity.

Nor will existing technologies, aggressively deployed, rescue us. The IEA studied an “alternative scenario” that simulated the effect of 1,400 policies to reduce fossil fuel use. Fuel economy for new U.S. vehicles was assumed to increase 30 percent by 2030; the global share of energy from “renewables” (solar, wind, hydropower, biomass) would quadruple, to 8 percent. The result: by 2030, annual carbon dioxide emissions would rise 31 percent instead of 55 percent. The concentration levels of emissions in the atmosphere (which presumably cause warming) would rise.

Russell Roberts, Cafe Hayek: The political economy of global warming

The final reason we’re not going to do anything about global warming is because the Chinese aren’t going to do anything about global warming. If the Chinese don’t do anything, our incentive is very small. We will have to take a big hit in standard of living to make up for the surge in the Chinese pollution that’s coming. And I don’t think the Chinese are going to do anything to reduce their march toward modernity.

A final thought: the experts on global warming bear little cost for making overly pessimistic predictions about the world in 2100. So they have an incentive to make overly pessimistic predictions.

True, their reputations will be harmed. But right now they are all in the same boat. You don’t look foolish predicting that Florida is going to disappear if almost everyone else with glowing credentials makes the same argument. So I’m a little skeptical of their pessimism given that the costs of pessimism is low and benefits in the form of being on the good side of the funding angels is high. But they could be right. Maybe the earth is headed toward a fiery end. But if I’m right about the politics, then we’ll get to find out if the experts are right to be pessimistic. We’ll find out, not because we’ll all be alive in 2100, though many of us could be, but because we’re going to get a lot more data in the next decade or two to see if the current pessimism is justified. So we’ll talk again in 2020 and see whether the scientific consensus is as dire or direr than it is now.

I wonder. Is that really all we got? Specifically, is that all America got? The same America that put the first man on the moon? The same America that — and I still believe this — could achieve practically anything as long as they jumped in with both feet? The America that believes everything is possible, with its trackrecord of overcoming even the biggest challenges — political, scientific, and economic?

Instead what I hear is excuses, excuses, excuses.

And that is disappointing.