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Archive for July, 2006

Jul 21,2006

[book]I had no idea until today (where have I been?) but Thomas Pynchon has written a new novel.

The always-elusive Pynchon described as “If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two” in a now-deleted descriptor on Amazon.com.

John Stodder, the Los Angeles blogger, has the best post about it. (Thanks, LAObserved.com)

Podcasts and Public Radio

  • Filed under: Radio
Jul 16,2006

For a few weeks, some bloggers were podcasting This American Life. But actually, they weren’t podcasting it — they were just deep-linking to it. (providing links to mp3s on TAL’s servers — in effect, just providing a service that TAL had enabled.)

Problem is, TAL, through Audible.com, is already podcasting for a fee. And local stations don’t want shows like This American Life (or Marketplace) to podcast either because it bypasses the traditional ways people digest their media.

I found this out the hard way when I tried to get Marketplace/APM on the podcast bandwagon and the only way were able to do it was to produce a new show, made up of parts of our radio shows (any other way and Audible would have thrown a fit; local stations as well).

In the end, TAL asked the deep-linkers to shut it down, which they did. And it sounds as if the show’s producers have finally found a way to close the loophole he was exploiting.

But this isn’t the last of the tug-of-war going on within public radio over podcasting. In fact, it seems more like the beginning.

Jul 14,2006

My PhotoIs this one, by a self-identified “exiled newyorker living in berlin”. I found her via another blog from a former berliner now back in the states.

There are a lot of other city blogs, though no Berlinist.com, which I’ve decided would probably be too much work for me to even think about trying to work on.

For those unfamiliar, “WM” is the acronym for Weltmeisterschaft…or the World Cup. And my favorite post on the site is this one, complaining about some of the tourists in Germany for the WM:

What I won’t miss:

Stupid people and their stupid questions.

Example: The evil lady who asked us 5 times in German
if we spoke Spanish. It looked as if she had just met this Spanish
speaking man on the plane ride and was trying to impress him for some

I am ready to hit the road and begin meinem Deutscheleben.

Jul 13,2006

Scott JagowYou’ve asked for it…and we’ve answered!

More Scott Jagow!!!!

No, we don’t have any more of Scott’s quaint blogmail posts…where he kicks the soccer-loving butts of four 8-year-old German kids.

Instead, we have Scott’s vlog — or video blog.

Actually, it’s more like two short movies.

Without further ado, here is the….

Okay, shoot, their is further ado.

First, Scott has a quick announcement:

This isn’t your Aunt Edna’s slide show. It’s got lots of cool music and frolicking and special effects, and even a naughty picture. Thankfully, the Motion Picture Association has given me a PG rating.

And secondly, he wants you to know that he slaved over it. 73-and-a-half hours to make it.

Video 1.

Video 2.

FYI — It plays in Microsoft Media Player, and its posted on the Mydeo.com web site.

Jul 13,2006


Slashdot.org sends out a daily email with the top conversations/stories/articles of the past 24 hours in geek-topia.

Today, this came through the Slashdot transom:

An anonymous reader writes “Hitwise is reporting that [0]MySpace has reached the top, surpassing Yahoo! Mail as the most visited site on the internet for US users. Seeing a 4300% increase in visits in just two short years, this internet sensation has come quite a long ways. From the article: ‘To put MySpace’s growth in perspective, if we look back to July 2004 myspace.com represented only .1% of all Internet visits. This time last year myspace.com represented 1.9% of all Internet visits. With the week ending July 8, 2006 market share figure of 4.5% of all the US Internet visits.’”

This just doesn’t make sense to me. The site is so poorly designed and interfaced. I’ve always hated MySpace — and I just don’t get why people don’t use Facebook or Friendster.

The Kelso Dunes

Jul 10,2006

So, about 15 of us went out to the Kelso Dunes on Saturday night. We arrived at 8 pm on Saturday — the temperature was 95 degrees.

We left at 8 am Sunday, and the temperature was 101 degrees.

But in the middle, when the mercury had dropped to a downright chilly 80 degrees, we climbed the geologically-mystifying Kelso Dunes and took some unbelievable night shots — including this one. Remember it was pitch black (save the moonlight) when we shot it…we just had 6 seconds to do our thing.

According to some research dug up by fellow camper Charla Bears, we know:

By studying the mineral composition and shapes of sand grains that make up Kelso Dunes, we know that most of the sand has traveled all the way from the Mojave River sink east of Afton Canyon (map).

Wind blowing from the northwest gradually carried the sand southeastward. In the path of the prevailing winds lie the Providence Mountains and the pink pinnacles of the Granite Mountains. The rocky crags and sloping fans of the two ranges block the moving sand. Sand piles up at the base of the mountains and along their flanks, forming dunes and sand sheets. Where the sand piles up researchers found that the dunes are actually made up of several sets of dunes, stacked one on top of another. Each set formed in response to some past climate change! The Kelso Dunes depend upon times when the sand grain (sediment) supply is enhanced.

This happens whenever the climate is dry enough to expose the raw material of dunes, sand, to the wind. In fact, most of the eastern part of the Kelso Dunes formed when water-filled Soda Lake and Silver Lake dried up, exposing the lake bottom sediment. The entire dune system was stacked up in five major pulses over the past 25,000 years.

There are way more — equally cool — photos on my flickr page.

Tony Dec's Blog

  • Filed under: Radio
Jul 10,2006

Tony Dec — one of the best pubradio producers out there, and an adjunct in Columbia University’s radio journalism program — has started a radio blog. He just posted about it on the Association of Independents in Radio mailing list. Here’s his post:

…hijacked podcasts?…
…XM Satellite Radio cell phone…
…Russians booting out Voice Of America…
…podcasting poses threat to radio…
…David Isay’s traveling oral history project…
…Philippine radio station burned down…
…why compress audio levels?…
…Native American radio network launches…
…mixing with headphones?…
…right ear = journalism ear…
…podcasting & the law…
…learn Pro Tools on your own…

this and more at http://Radio411.blogspot.com/

… developing news and information about radio stations and broadcast
journalism from across the country and around the world,
…journalists in the line of fire for free speech,
…using technology to make better audio recordings,
…creating and marketing your own podcasts,
…opinions and comments about programming, technique and anything
else that sparks interest and curiosity,

live and archived, at

Radio411 will also feature a resource guide with
…podcasting and blog media links,
…radio documentary and podcasting tutorials,
…radio stations and programs around the world,
…media watchdogs,
…and jobs, grants and fellowships.

Jul 5,2006

This is the subway station near my new home in Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin.

Das ist abkühlen Super.

I was trying to find a Unitarian Universalist congregation (even a lay-led congregation) in Berlin. But it looks like I may have to travel to other cities if I want to UU it up next year.

Jul 3,2006


Those who know me know that there are few things in my life as important as Cal football. And, as we head into the 2006 season, it looks like we may be on the verge of establishing ourself as a national powerhouse. (Don’t remind me that I’m going to be in Germany when all this is happening.)

Which is why it was such a concern when news broke that our Heisman-candidate running back was involved in a drive-by shooting in Oakland. Some media jumped on the story before all the real news was out — and when it became evident Marshawn was in the wrong place at the wrong time (and is universally regarded as a stand up guy and a credit to his team, his school, and his family) several news sites and blogs had to backtrack and apologize.

But the best apology — or, really, homage — to Marshawn is at Every Day Should Be Saturday. Its in the style of ‘Chuck Norris Facts‘ and includes my favorite line:

7. Made an A on his Industrial Design project last year. He called it “Assignment 3 in Papier-Mache.” You call it “the city of Tokyo.”

Photo credit: Daily Californian.


Jul 3,2006

Well, I’m a little late with this final blogmail posting from Mr. Scott Jagow himself. But I promise as soon as I get my hands on his video footage (which he says he’ll get to me soon), I will put up a stream here.

And without further ado:

“Well, my World Cup is over. I was knocked out in the round of 16. But I gave it everything I had, and even scored some goals on a few 8-year-olds from Portugal.”