Friday, July 30, 2010

TEDGlobal: Julian Assange "Why the world needs WikiLeaks"

WikiLeaks has been in the news a lot this week, over a massive release of documents from the Afghan War, coordinated with the Guardian, the New York Times, and Der Spiegel.

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, made a surprise appearance at TEDGlobal in Oxford to talk about the role of WikiLeaks in balancing the disparity of information power, and holding organizations and governments accountable for their actions. Basically, activist journalism.

Key quotes from the talk:
Well, there's a question as to what sort of information is important in the world, what sort of information can achieve reform. And there's a lot of information. So information that organizations are spending economic effort into concealing, that's a really good signal that when the information gets out, there's a hope of it doing some good. Because the organizations that know it best, that know it from the inside out, are spending work to conceal it. And that's what we've found in practice. And that's what the history of journalism is.
[C]apable, generous men do not create victims; they nurture victims. And that's something from my father and something from other capable, generous men that have been in my life...There is another way of nurturing victims, which is to police perpetrators of crime.

[Disclaimer: "The interview includes graphic footage of a recent US airstrike in Baghdad."]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

camping in Mount Charleston


When I was younger, I used to attend various weekend camps (debate camp, archeology camp, "diversity" camp), and they all were held at Camp Lee Canyon in the Spring Mountains/Mount Charleston (about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas). Despite the fact that I've been up in this area a few times, I've never known that there were campgrounds just up the road! Luckily, I have friends that are a bit more observant than me, and so we went on a 2+ car camping trip this weekend. It was nice to be up in the mountains, since it was about 30 degrees cooler than in the Vegas Valley, and there are no raccoons trying to steal your first-born child.

[Well, except for maybe this guy.]

Things I learned at camp:
  1. How to play cornhole.

    Andrew and Angie playing cornhole
  2. Dogs are always hoping for a playdate.

    Zeke trying to play
  3. The answer is always "Michael J. Fox."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

it's not for the gentle breezes

I'm going from this...

accuweather-072110-paloalto this.


Le sigh.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

" giant leap..."

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center just posted a bunch of images from the Apollo 11 moon landing, commemorating the 41st anniversary. Considering we can barely figure out how to plug up an oil leak within 3 months, getting humans to the moon and back seems almost miraculous.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

dinner party

I seem to be worse at multitasking than originally thought. For example, despite the intention of taking beautiful, well-lit photographs of a dinner party last night, I basically got two good photos in between fretting about the food.

pizza dough

This became a thin-crust pizza with carmelized onion, olive and roasted garlic tapenade, and wild arugula. Recipe for the crust here.

baked ziti

This is the finished baked ziti. I also made a vegetarian version.

The rest of the menu included:
  • grated beet salad
  • caprese salad
  • haricot verts with shallots
  • gazpacho
  • roasted apricots with vanilla gelato

We had a lot of food left over. We also had a lot of beverage left over because Whit got it in his head that someone might want something that we might not be able to provide (iced tea AND lemonade, lambrusco AND lager, sparkling AND still water).

Although we managed collectively to extract two splinters from my friend's hand. So apparently, the party was more successful at multitasking than me.

working out a splinter

Friday, July 16, 2010

Big Boi on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

There is so much good hip hop going on right now. Exhibit A: Big Boi performing "Shutterbug" with The Roots (via Pitchfork):

Thursday, July 15, 2010

cherry pie

cherry pie

Remember last year when I said I was going to make cherry pie? Well, sour cherries were on sale this week: 2 pounds for $9.99. And there you go.

cherry pie

It came out much runnier than I wanted. I used this recipe (although with a different pie crust, and potato starch instead of cornstarch). I guess looking at the photos, I should have expected something more liquid and less plasma. But it is still being thoroughly enjoyed by my belly.

cherry pie

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

日本の夏 (japanese summer)

As it starts to heat up here in the Bay Area, I am becoming nostalgic for the Japanese summer.

  1. 冷やし中華 (hiyashi-chūka). My favorite type of ramen that is only available in the summertime: cold noodles, with a soy-vinegar broth, topped with ham, cucumbers, and egg (although there are some slight variations).

  2. 紫陽花 (ajisai, or hydrangea). I cannot express how overwhelming it was hiking down to Hase-dera to be confronted with a wall of this:

    Hillside of ajisai (hydrangea)
    Hydrangea is still the only flower I know the name of in Japanese.

  3. 麦茶 or むぎ茶 (mugicha, or roasted barley tea). The official start of summer in Japan for me was when the hot drinks the vending machines would be replaced by this.

  4. ビアガーデン (beer garden). Usually on the roofs of large department stores or hotels, they are often all-you-can-drink (nomihodai) and all-you-can-eat (tabehodai) for a certain amount of time during the day. You'd think drinking beer in the sun accompanied by a ton of greasy food would be disgusting, but it's not. It's spectacular.

  5. 花火 (hanabi, or fireworks). Although we have fireworks here in the U.S., it's really one for one night only. Japan has a rolling cataclysm of fireworks throughout the summer, usually with a major show. The last one I saw was accompanied by the sweet sculptural rhythms of Aqua.

    Hanabi = Fire of Flowers
    photo by Kurt Laitenberger (Flickr: KurtFML)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Old Spice, "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" nominated for an Emmy

Congratulations to Isaiah Mustafa and the rest of the Old Spice team for their Emmy nomination for "Outstanding Commercial."

Rest of the Emmy nominations can be found here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Creativity Explored partnership with CB2

The education coordinator of First Exposures, Erik Auerbach, has a wife. Her name is Amy, and she is the gallery and office manager of Creativity Explored, a non-profit arts center in which people with developmental disabilities make, display, and sell art.

Creativity Explored recently did a partnership with CB2 to sell work created by their artists through their site and catalog. A percentage of each sale will go to CE. Here are a few pieces:

entre flores y pajaros rug by Maria Berrios.

in bloom rug by Mary Belknap.

peacock 18" pillow by Valerie Long.

butterfly 20" pillow by Valerie Long.

little bird 18" pillow by Douglas Sheran.

horse of course 23" pillow by Theresa Perez.