How to Recycle an Airplane

A few years ago I recall seeing where someone out in (I think) California had bought a 747 which they were going to convert into a house. An interesting idea, though I’m not sure how long it would take before the novelty wore off.
Somewhere along the line today I ran across an article mentioning some other creative recycling ideas for used aircraft. I’m not sure which I like more, the “747 as a hotel” or the house using wings for the roof.

Easy Sales Pitch

I stopped off to chat with The Chief this afternoon to ask if I could take a half day off next Friday. That’s when the set up takes place for the Biergarten at Oktoberfest and I wanted to help the Jaycees with their part. No problem with that. (I like working for this guy.)
The rest of the conversation was even more entertaining:

Me: Of course the next day’s the good part. I’m going to say just one word, and I know you’ll be there.
Boss: Beer?
Me: Exactly!

Now I just need to remind him. 🙂

Adding to the Mess

Back in the Spring, my office had an offsite retreat which included a presentation on the Intellipedia, a version of Wikipedia used by the U.S. intelligence community.
One of the reasons the intelligence community needs a tool like Wikipedia is the volume of information they deal with. The presentation started off with a video titled “Information R/evolution.” It’s kinda cool.

Skirting the Issue

Dave’s been having fun the past few years, telling his daughters all sorts of stories about their various uncles. More recently, he’s posted a story or two on his blog.
I suppose I could respond with a story or two of my own, for example, when he was a foreign exchange student, he returned from New Zealand in January. My then-girlfriend and I went with my parents to meet him at the airport and when Dave got off the plane, he was wearing a skirt. (The girlfriend broke up with me a short time later.) I could go into great length about that, but why? After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Dave, wearing a skirt and holding a spear.
So you see, it turns out that I’m the normal one!

Executive Order

From the Office of the President
September 15, 2009

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, effective immediately, there is to be no use of Twitter in the Press Briefing Room.
September 15, 2009

OK, seriously, I don’t believe for a moment that President Obama will ever issue an executive order like that one. I likewise hope there won’t be an unofficial equivalent, but… Wowsers. You just know there’s gotta be a temptation….
If you’ve somehow missed the uproar, sometime on Monday, during an “off the record” moment before a television interview, President Obama called Kanye West “a jackass.”
It’s been a bad couple of months for civility and politeness in this country. A summer full of “town hall meetings” being disrupted by people who instead of answers only wanted to cause a scene. Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouting at the President of the United States during a formal address. Rapper Kanye West grabbing the microphone away from Taylor Swift to protest BeyoncĂ© not winning the award that went to Taylor (Yay to BeyoncĂ© for putting Taylor back in the spotlight). And now the President of the United States referring to someone as a Jackass.
There is one important distinction though. The first three took place in public settings where the people involved should have been mature enough to realize in advance that their actions were wildly inappropriate. They should have restrained themselves and made their protests in a more appropriate manner.
In the case of President Obama, I’m a bit less certain. There are undoubtedly parents and teachers out there who now have to explain to the kids that just because President Obama used a word doesn’t mean it’s OK for them to use it too.
But although President Obama’s choice of words was unfortunate (it certainly could have been worse), was he wrong to say it? That’s where I’m not sure. Somebody made an audio recording of the President’s remarks, and from the context, it’s clear that the remarks were “off the record.” It was a private, informal conversation. (And hey, what’s up with recording a private conversation?)
The reporter, Terry Moran of ABC News, posted the report on Twitter and then realized it wasn’t something he should have been reporting. He then removed the Twitter post. Both Moran and ABC seem to believe that this was something which shouldn’t have been reported on, but with more than 1,000,000 followers, by the time Moran moved to delete it, the post had already been forwarded on.
Whatever else this may be, it’s most certainly a vivid reminder that when you’re talking to the media, you’re never completely off the record and you need to watch what you say (particularly with “instant news” as with Twitter). In general, the reporter has no way of separating personal musings from an official statement and may very well report the parts of the conversation that you least wanted. (This is a lesson I learned the hard way a few years back.)
And maybe now would be a good time for everyone, whether they’re in the limelight or out, to take a deep breath, look up the definitions of “civility” and “politeness”, and use them to start making the world a better place.
(Updated 9-16-2009, 8pm — Corrected Terry Moran’s News Organization.)

Ender's Game

Last week I re-read Ender’s Game. Excellent book, though I have trouble suspending my disbelief to the extent of buying in to the idea of kids under the age of 10 discussing such deep topics. I’m left assuming that Ender and his peers were the result of a program aimed at producing geniuses, but such is never actually stated. Despite this quibble, the book is all in all a most excellent read. (This would be a great opportunity to include a link to the extra copy I put on PaperBackSwap, but it was gone within 24 hours.)
The idea of Locke and Demosthenes makes some degree of sense within the context of the book, and I can sort of imagine a variation of Peter’s gambit playing out in the scope of today’s blogosphere. (There are after all a few “superstars” out there, but they’re mostly bloggers, not commenters.)
Through a fluke of excellent timing, I finished reading Ender’s Game on Monday and on Friday, XKCD had a strip based on one of Valentine’s and Peter’s discussions. (The squirrel in the strip fared much better than any of the ones in the book however.)