Reclaiming the streets

Take a look at this advertisement photo for an "American Dream Home". You have to wonder whether this was even built for humans - I can't see an entrance except coming in through the garages. I for one would certainly prefer to live in an area like this: Fortunately, some people still have some common sense left, are not afraid to voice it and actually have some say in urban planning and city design. Here is an inspiring interview with Hermann Knoflacher. Es lebe das Mittelklasse Gehzeug!


virtual architecture

While reading the The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture. Comprehensive Edition (with a weight of 8kg the heaviest book I own ;-) ) I thought it would be a real shame if all our virtual architecture, i.e. computer game levels, especially 3D maps and buildings, will be lost forever once the corresponding games cease to work on new hardware. Alas, this being the internet, someone has thought of this before (for example SamSahrani). I for one would like to see a museum of computer game architecture. Think of the floating in space jump pad levels of Quake3, the organic "in an alien body" maps of System Shock 2 or the rotating maps of Unreal Tournament. Or the more realistic maps of the various World War 2 games or Halflife. Not to mention the online worlds in World of Warcraft, Second Life or the Sims. There are tons of very creative examples like this. Would be a shame to lose all that creativity. Architecture is architecture after all. The virtual kind may have different constraints and trade-offs than the real world one, but just like the real thing it's a mix of art and craft. Either that or I'm just nostalgic for countless lost hours sank into self made levels for DooM 2, Duke Nuke'em and Quake 3.


Political Compass

I took the politcal compass test and scored: Economic Left/Right: -6.38 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.95 which, according to the test, puts me in a group with Nelson Mandela, Ghandi and the Dalai Lama. Fine with me I guess, considering George W. Bush, Hitler and Stalin are also on the map...


YouTube Video

Kleine Utopie My brother is one of the puppets on the stairs and wrote and performed the song (second half of the video).


"I'm on a train to nowhere..." shalala

Buffet invests in railroads, railroads are cheaper, safer, make more ecologic sense, use less space and make less noise than cars. Ah wtf. This was supposed to become a somewhat coherent entry about trains, investment opportunities and shit. I'll go sit on the balkony with my girl now instead of rambling. Why don't you go and buy a "car-scratcher" from cycles for heroes in the meantime?


Someone just doesn't get it...

From a Bloomberg article:
Gasoline use is rising almost 5 percent above the five-year average. [...] Many Americans have no choice but to drive more, says Christopher Knittel, an economist who studies fuel consumption at the University of California in Davis.


Never buy anthing that says Sony on it ever again...

Argh! There is lots of bad stuff to say about Sony, like it distributing rootkits for the good of the customer, but this time it's personal. I was dumb enough to buy a portable minidisc player (before all the mp3 players came out). The hardware is kinda ok, but the software must be the most hideously rotten piece of fucked up shit ever let lose on humankind. Of course it's your only option to use with the hardware. Of course it's windows only. Of course it has to scan all your drives in order to "register" your music. Naturally it only writes Sony native formats. Of course it doesn't read ogg vorbis. Of course it crashes about once a minute. For updating it you can of course be expected to install Internet Explorer (Sony's page doesn't like FireFox) and restart your computer about 500 times. Also, a simple download cannot be done without ActiveX and Flash activated. etc etc... It's just unbelievable that they should get away with it. Die Sony! Die, die, die! Go Apple go! Drive em into the ground.


Not Not Start a Startup? Not?

"If you took a nap in your office in a big company, it would seem unprofessional. But if you're starting a startup and you fall asleep in the middle of the day, your cofounders will just assume you were tired." Paul Graham in his latest essay "Why to Not Not Start a Startup"


BinNavi in action

Although I've written large chunks of this software I'm not a typical user of it (i.e. I'm usually producing my own bugs instead of taking someone else's apart in binary code). All the more interesting to see what kind of (freaky I might add) stuff folks pull off with it. Ero published a nice article where he shows some debugging work, stringing together a PE executable with a hex editor of all things!


beauty in the asphalt age

A couple of "human flowers" - highway interchanges viewed from above. The last one is from the movie "Alpha Dog". More in the "Museum of Ridiculous Highway Design". Apparently abominations like these are but a small sacrifice for "personal freedom"...


sexually satisfied chickens

Today he missed the rising sun by three hours. He met his day in the shower, washing his hair with shampoo that was guaranteed to have never been put in a bunny's eyes and from which ten percent of the profits went to save the whales. He lathered his face with shaving cream free of chlorofluorocarbons, thereby saving the ozone layer. He breakfasted on fertile eggs laid by sexually satisfied chickens that were allowed to range while listening to Brahms, and muffins made with pesticide-free grain, so no eagle-egg shells were weakened by his thoughtless consumption. He scrambled the eggs in margarine free of tropical oils, thus preserving the rain forest, and he added milk from a carton made of recycled paper and shipped from a small family farm. By the time he finished his second cup of coffee, which would presumably help to educate the children of a poor peasant farmer named Juan Valdez, Sam was on the verge of congratulating himself for single-handedly saving the planet just by getting up in the morning. He would have been surprised, however, if someone had told him that it had been two years since he had set foot on unpaved ground. - Christopher Moore, Coyote Blue.


rush hour

the freeways are a psychological entanglement of warped souls, dying flowers in the dying hour of the dying day.... what you see on the freeway is just what there is, a funeral procession of the dead, the greatest horror of our time in motion. - Charles Bukowski


Mirror, mirror on the wall...

Pollution in China, already at disastrous levels, is growing faster than anyone could possibly control it. English Der Spiegel article on China And what are we doing? Investing money into the "emerging markets", feeling disappointed when they don't reach our 30% p.a. growth expectations. Poisoning themselves to death is alright as long as we profit and the dirt stays on the other side of the globe. Now that the first clouds drift over Europe and Japan people at least start noticing... China is expected to trump the biggest current polluter, the US, in the very near future. I bet you a thousand carbon credits that will be used as an excuse to pollute even more, not less. The argument you hear even now goes something like this: Why should I cut back on my emissions or my environmental footprint - look at them, they are even worse than me! If I change, that won't make a difference anyways. You'd think this argument is so obviously flawed noone would fall for it. Yet at the same time you hear it again and again. People driving their fucking cars everywhere because "what difference does my Prius make compared to his evil SUV?" I don't need to change my habits. Not me. Not me. By this logic you can justify any crime because there'll always be one that is worse... There is an analysis of this phenomenon in mathematical game theory: Cooperation would be for the net benefit of everyone, yet it's for your own short term benefit not to cooperate and thus it never works. Unfortunately nature suffers from exactly this phenomenon. For the global good of the planet nations should be able to agree on environmental policy yet it's in everyone's short term interest to let "the others do it" and boost the local economy instead. Everyone will cry foul at China once we finally reach the tipping point. Yet they are only repeating our mistakes. If we were allowed to make them and if we have the right to our standards of living - why shouldn't they? It's gonna get real nasty once the roles reverse - imagine the reckless USA having to play economic catch up with China. Uh oh. A new coal fired power plant per week - I bet you we'll be building nuclear power plants by the dozen in the name of ecology and green energy before I turn 35. Just so we stop the immediate threat. Us fucking hypocrits.