Results tagged “nyt” from kwc blog

And the New York Times weighs in


To follow up on my previous post, here's John Markoff's take for the New York Times:

Opening Doors on the Way to a Personal Robot

Renzo Piano's New York Times Building


nyt-gehry.jpgBack in 2003 I went to a Frank Gehry exhibition at the Moca commemorating the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall across the street. The exhibition was full of many models, some for buildings already built, some to be built, and some never to be built. In this last category was a series of models for the New York Times Building, which stood out because they were skyscrapers, something unusual for Gehry's portfolio. I believe that some of the models used crumpled tissue paper to simulate facade elements.

Two years later, I went to a Renzo Piano exhibit at LACMA commemorating Piano's future renovations to the museum. Among the many models there was his New York Times Building model, which was predictably more subdued than Gehry's though just as unusual for being a skyscraper. Gehry's design was considered a front runner, but he withdrew from the process. Piano's design employed a grilled facade that has won him many a museum proposal in recent years and this time secured him a skyscraper.

nytimes20080621_0068Mimicking the New York Times "Gray Lady" moniker, the relatively unadorned, very gray building stands tall with the vertical grill lines that are only interrupted by the giant New York Times banner logo. Buttresses on the side add a little bit of form to the building, but are minimal. I hear it can be quite beautiful at night with the newsroom lighting out through the facade. During the day the gray grills make even a gray sky more gray.

I would have preferred the Gehry design to be built, though I have a feeling that the Piano design has greater longevity. The un-offending building fits well within the Gotham skyline and they gray grills will soak up the grime and soot of the city with hardly a complaint. The New York Times nearly made it to the 21st century without color and it now has a color-less building to lead it to the next.

Photo Gallery

Sign of the apocalypse



NYTimes Select to go free?


nyt_ts_icon.gif The New York Post (note the source) claims to have the scoop: New York Times Select Content Freed. I've occasionally caught a Times columns syndicated in the Palo Alto Daily News or elsewhere, but the move to 'Select' content mostly took the Times out of the online conversation as far as I could tell. Those that took the plunge didn't seem enjoy the value either: subscribers fell from 224,000 in April to 221,000 in June. Maybe the they've figured that there's more money to be had selling ads shown to the non-subscribing millions than getting $8/month from the declining quarter million.

Infovis: Bush vs. Clinton protocols


doj_wh_charts.gifGonzales' testimony before Congress yesterday was entertaining for me. It produced this sort of language in today's New York Times Editorial:

Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch... He delegated responsibility for purging their ranks to an inexperienced and incompetent assistant who, if that’s possible, was even more of a plodding apparatchik.

I do enjoy my Russian political references. War czar, anyone?

Gonzales' testimony also helped produce this infographic by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. (reported by Slate) that compares protocols in the Clinton and Bush White House for who is allowed to talk to whom in the DoJ about ongoing criminal investigations. See if you can spot the difference.

via Froomkin

Bacon Math


Update: honeyfields sends me a link to bacon band-aids

New York Times' London Journal

Should it be slithery or scrunchy, glutinous or grilled? The answer, British scientists say, may be divined by a formula: N = C + {fb(cm) · fb(tc)} + fb(Ts) + fc · ta.

That is the scientific answer to the question: what makes the perfect bacon sandwich?

via Scalzi

And while we're talking about the nytimes and food:

You can take the sugar out of soft drinks and the fat from junk food. But eliminate the pungent odor from what may be the world’s smelliest fruit and brace for a major international controversy.

The durian, a spiky fruit native to Southeast Asia, has been variously described by its detractors as smelling like garbage, moldy cheese or rotting fish. It is banned from many hotels, airlines and the Singapore subway. But durian lovers — and there are many, at least in Asia — are convinced that like fine French cheeses, the worse the smell, the better the taste.

NYTimes on MythBusters


The New York Times has an article title 'Best Science Show on Television?", which discusses the MythBusters TV show and their Hindenburg experiment.

Fremont Athletics? Santa Clara 49ers?


Update: Olympic fallout - SF drops bid for 2016 Olympics

What a weird week of sports moves for the Bay Area: A's, Cisco, reach deal to build ballpark in Fremont and 49ers tell San Francisco mayor they plan to move (to Santa Clara or elsewhere). What will the new team names be? Fremont and Santa Clara just aren't that cool. They are also closer to San Jose than they are their former hosts, though I know that the South Bay is legally SF Giants territory. A map of the proposed Santa Clara site is below (hey -- light rail!). 

Voting aftermath


Rumsfeld Resigns as Defense Secretary After Big Election Gains for Democrats

I spent all night reloading Virginia's results, watching in panic as Allen and Webb changed places, and then calming down as Arlington and Fairfax started pushing Webb ahead. I'm not terribly happy with the California Propositions results, though I'm glad that the 'takings' eminent domain prop got voted down. I drove around in a semi-panic election morning trying to find my polling place due to an registration snafu on my part. I ended up voting in Los Altos on one of their new touchscreen machines: this time around their touchscreens have printed receipts, which was rather comforting, even if there is some bad UI design -- if you check the wrong box, you can't change it by checking the correct box; you have to first press on the checked box, then check the correct box.

Ridiculous games?


Can someone in the Redskins nation inform me of a more ridiculous win than Sunday's 22-19 win over Dallas? It had me and my dad simultaneously cheering and laughing over the absurdity:

  • Score tied 19-19. Redskins' Novak shanks a 49-yard attempt wide right. 0:35 remaining
  • Dallas easily drives down the field and sets up 38-yard attempt for Vanderjagt. 0:06 remaining
  • Field goal is blocked by Troy Vincent, who has never blocked a kick before. Redskins' Sean Taylor recovers the ball and runs down the field for 30 yards before being tackled. Clock has run out. Refs call a facemask penalty that: 1) gives the Redskins one more play and 2) sets up a 47-yard field goal attempt. 0:00 remaining.
  • Novak's kick starts off wide right but hooks in. Redskins win.

I would like to call this revenge for Parcell's analysis of the Redskins, except Parcell's analysis of the Redskins was correct, and all the game really showed was how much luck it takes for the Redskins to win.

Shuttles from the Space Station and Hubble


I never really thought about orbit angles and such, but apparently its really important if you're sending objects up to service objects in space. The Hubble Telescope is at a very different orbit angle from the International Space Station, which means that it would be very difficult for a shuttle to get assistance from the space station in the event of an emergency. I just assumed in a Space Camp sort of way that, once you're in space, you just bang on some thruster buttons until it all works out. The New York Times has more.

Speaking of shuttles and the International Space Station, here's a shot of a space shuttle launch as seen by the ISS (via Mr. Sun/Warren Ellis):

And here's an aurora borealis shot from the ISS as well (via

New York Times Article on Hubble + ISS

More photos from Warren Ellis

Reality Vlog Drama


rocketboomAmanda Congdon leaves Rocketboom. Or was she fired? Andrew Baron, 51% owner of Rocketboom, claims Congdon was leaving for other opportunities in LA. Amanda, 49% owner of Rocketboom, claims she was moving to LA to work on Rocketboom and is now stuck living in her parents' home in Connecticut. And there is fighting over whether or not Amanda owns that 49%. At the heart of it all seems to be who is in control of the actual production of Rocketboom. Watch Amanda Congdon's farewell video. The New York Times writes about it all.

Whether or not you like Rocketboom, it was a leading pioneer in the video blogging space with 250,000 daily readers, a partnership with TiVo (the very first TiVoCast), and a creative business model that sold ads on eBay for as much as $40,000 (and more recently reported ad deals of $80,000). They also were pioneers of the medium, honing an HD editing setup that reportedly only cost them $20 an episode and utilitizing features of QuickTime like chapters and links to create a more Web-like feel to the video. They weren't inventors of the space: much like the content of their show they were part of an overall experimentation within the space that learned from each other, but they were pioneers.

Baron claims to be continuing Rocketboom (sans-Congdon) starting next week, but this seems to me to be a fatal misunderstanding of the medium by Baron -- odd given how much he helped shape it. Rocketboom is not like NBC Nightly News, where you hand over the anchor position. It's more like Larry King Live without a CNN, because stick Amanda Congdon in front of a camera, post the result anywhere online, and you have the next Rocketboom. There is much that goes on behind the camera, but to Internet viewers who have no trouble updating their browser links, the brand goes where Congdon goes, even if the production and nascent business development do not. Jason Calcanis of Weblogs Inc has already offered Congdon a position at Netscape for whatever salary she wants whereever she wants, and there are certainly plenty of other offers eager to pickup Rocketboom's 250,000 strong audience.

Old links to clear out 2005


Art and Architecture link roundup


Nuclear Contact


France is going to be the site first nuclear fusion reactor, with Japan picked as the site of the second reactor. This is a major $10B+ undertaking by a six-nation consortium of the US, Japan, EU, China, Russia, and South Korea, and many scientific and engineering challenges will have be solved before the reactor is scheduled to come online in 2015.

This news reminds me of Carl Sagan's Contact. Beyond the similarities of Japan being picked as a second site for a major, international building effort, this paragraph from the article could have come straight out of a faux Contact news report:

Many experts also predict that construction could take much longer than currently foreseen, given the difficulty of coordinating multiple suppliers of costly and highly technical components in many countries. Today's agreement leaves open the possibility that still more countries may participate in the project. India, for example, has expressed interest in getting involved.

Steven Johnson gave a talk at Books Inc. in Mountain View in order to promote his new book, Everything Bad is Good for You. (a shortened version of his Apple Store Talk for those who saw that).

His stated purpose for the talk/book is that is an attempt to talk on conventional wisdom that things have gotten worse, that newer media (TV/video games) appeal to the lowest common denominator. It is a "contrarian but honest argument" that looks, not at the content, but at the cognitive complexity of these media (# of characters, plots, etc...)

I've transcribed my notes into the extended entry. Before the jump you can checked out kottke's review or Gladwell's review (the kottke review includes some links to other resources). Or, you go straight to the source, Steven Johnson's blog, where he's be reviewing the reviewers, posting his schedule, and whatnot.

Finally, you can read Watching TV Makes You Smarter, which Johnson wrote for the New York Times Magazine and pretty much summarizes the arguments in his talk/book.

News photos


I've been collecting some news photos from the past week, thought I'd post them here.

Houses made of snow:

24storm-1.jpg 01-27-05.snow2.jpg

Little boom:



01-27-05.aush.jpg 01-27-05.aush.2.jpg

More LA buildings


The NYTimes has an interesting article on Mayne's new Caltrans District 7 HQ in downtown LA. The progress photos from the construction site don't look nearly as interesting as the photos the Times took, but having already seen the Frank Gehry's Disney Concert Hall and Jose Rafael Moneo's Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the completist in me wants to make sure that I see all of LA's big new buildings.

More to buy


Dana Street Coffee is about to close along with my only Internet connection right now, and I don't want to lose this link: NYTimes: 100 Notable Books of the Year

Update: The Economist's List

Jon Stewart, media darling


Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance has put him front and center. The Washington Post is now running a profile, he'll be on 60 minutes this week, and just several days ago the NYTimes did a profile as well.

Anthropomorphic iPod


My post frequency is down, so I'm going to cheat and mine a post from an e-mail thread.

This New York Times has an article on people and their iPods, and more specifically, how people attribute a higher level of intelligence to their iPods than actually exists. For example,

The iPod "knows somehow when I am reaching the end of my reserves, when my motivation is flagging," Mr. Greist insisted. "It hits me up with 'In Da Club,' and then all of a sudden I am in da club."

People also seem to think that the iPod favors certain artists, and point to the fact that the songs by the same artist will frequently play in proximity to one another. Often this artist will be someone the person likes, so they think that the iPod has learned their music tastes.

Personally, I think this viewpoint may be a result of how humans have a hard time comprehending random.

There is a problem that math/CS majors study called the Birthday Paradox, which asks "given N people, what is the probability that 2 have the same birthday?" It only takes 23 people for the probability to reach 50%. When we did this in class it only took ~15 people before we had two of the same birthdays. (Rubin reminds me that birthdays are not actually distributed evenly throughout the year, so the probability of having two people with the same birthday is actually much higher "since people in certain weather areas always seem to get randy around the same time").

This problem has applications to the iPod shuffling problem. Assuming that you had an equal number of songs from 100 different artists, then you would need 12 songs for there to be a 50% probability of at least two songs by the same artist (100 different artists). This doesn't mean that the songs by the same artist are 12 songs apart; it just means within that span of 12 songs there are at least 2 songs by the same artist, which means on average they will be a lot closer than 12 songs apart. If there are only 50 artists, then it only takes 9 songs, and for 200 artists it takes 17 songs.

However, like the Birthday Paradox, these assumptions are unrealistic: there are definitely artists that we have a lot more songs of, and soundtracks also inflate the number of artists. We also, as the article points out, buy more music of the kind we like. Putting this all together, even if the iPod is being completely random, it should be the case that you frequently hear songs by the same artist close together, and that artist will likely be someone you like. Thus, through complete mindless randomness, the iPod has 'learned' all about your preferences.

(I didn't verify any of the math I used in this entry)

Dangerous precedents


"Dangerous Precedent." Kinda sounds like the name of a big blockbuster flick, doesn't it? I usually reserve political posts for 1010, but I happened to find my thoughts echoed in this NYTimes editorial on the Bush/Cheney 9/11 Commission testimony:

The president's aides have also been arguing that making the event anything more than a "meeting" or informal discussion would establish a pattern that future chief executives would be forced to follow. That is true, in a way. If Mr. Bush or any of his successors have the tragic misfortune to be in command at a time when terrorists strike the country, killing thousands of innocent civilians, they should be expected to cooperate with the official investigations, and to do so in a way that puts their statements on the record and into history.

Rice appears


The spin coming out of Rice's appearance before the 9/11 commission appears to be mildly positive, or at the very least not negative. I did, however, enjoy this bit from a NYTimes article:

Mr. Ben-Veniste persisted, asking, "Isn't it a fact, Dr. Rice" that the presidential daily briefing on Aug. 6 "warned against possible attacks in this country?"

He ended the question by asking her to give the name of the memo, to which she replied: "I believe the title was `Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.' "

Ms. Rice insisted, however, that the memo did not warn of attacks inside America. "It was historical information based on old reporting," she said. "There was no new threat information, and it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States."

NYTimes on autism


Interesting reading, considering that a higher-than-normal percentage of the Bay Area is autistic, and that percentage will likely continue to increase:
- Lifting the Veils of Autism, One by One by One

Japan theme


Japan at NightI'm still refusing to watch the Last Samurai, partly because it's a rergurgitated flick clothed in samurai armor, and also because the phrase "Last Samurai" should never be associated with Tom Cruise. I have, however, watched Lost in Translation and Kill Bill, which I think were fun, good movies, though in very, very different ways.

The New York Times has used these three films to write an article on Japan in Hollywood, which is a nice casual read. It's difficult to see Kill Bill as a movie portraying Japan... it seems more accurate to describe it as a movie portraying Japanese cinema, a caricature of a caricature, though I did like the brief visit to Okinawa. Lost in Translation, on the other hand, I thought was an excellent portrayal of being immersed in Japanese culture for the first time. The article delves into the complaints about the movie being racist, but, to me at least, the movie hits far too close to home and lacks the condescending tone for that category.

One of the funniest parts of the movie for me was when Bill Murray does the celebrity commercial for the whisky. It still surprises me everytime I see one of the celebrity commercials on Japanese TV, and watching Murray act out this scene I can't help but wonder if the actors for the actual commercials suffer as much as he is. Speaking of which, I found a link to Japander on evhead today. You can check out all the silly Harrison Ford et al commercials there if you like.

I'll leave you with one final Japan-related link which I managed to spot today. It's the source of the image accompanying this article: Japan Nighttime Skylines (via Gen Kanai via MetaFilter)

Arnold is here to pump up our deficit


Get ready for impact - Arnold is rolling into town to demonstrate how he will decrease our deficit without increasing taxes or cutting spending.
Schwarzenegger Begins as Governor Today

Trickle down econ


Dubya may be the first president since Hoover to have negative job creation during his term in office:
- Too Low a Bar

Fox has bad ratings, blames it on Nielsen


"Frankly what we're seeing strains credulity," said Alan Wurtzel, the president of research for NBC

"You can't explain a 12 percent decline in men 18 to 34 or close to 20 percent in men 18 to 24 by saying they're playing a lot more video games," said David F. Poltrack, the executive vice president for research at CBS. He added, "The fact that it's concentrated in one small age group makes it worse, and even more likely that it's an aberration."

One possible factor is more basic, Mr. Sternberg said -- the quality of the new shows. "I've always noticed that we never hear anybody talking about the programming."

Few Viewers and Network Executives Scratch Their Heads

Gehry Sails


interactive corps simulated photoThe NYTimes has an article on a new Gehry building being built in New York that will be the headquarters of Barry Diller's InterActive Corps. I didn't see any details of this when I saw the Frank Gehry exhibit in LA, so I'm looking forward to seeing more pictures and close-ups of the "white glass."

Ship of Glass for Chelsea Waterfront

Tibet vs. Beijing


The NYTimes has an interesting article on how China is using immigration to slowly secularize the Tibetan region.
- Beijing Sends In the Masses to Make Tibet More Chinese

RIP: Johnny Cash


I honestly hadn't heard much Johnny Cash until metamanda introduced me to more of his music. Before that he was just an old folk singer who had done a really awesome cover of Soundgarden's Rusty Cage.

Now that I have heard more of his music, and I've been able to look back over the course of his life in which he produced it, I can't think of any other musician who was as productive and influential the entire course of his life - five decades of music. Who else, at 71, could get nominated for seven MTV music awards for a moving cover of a Nine Inch Nail's song, and his early days be breaking ground at Sun Studios with Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis?

Yes, California, We Got Screwed


The energy companies finally got fined for manipulating the energy market. So how much is the penalty for such actions that cost California $9 billion? <dr-evil>ONE MILLION DOLLARS</dr-evil>. You see, ladies and gentlemen, if you are an energy company, you can only get fined for the amount that you get caught stealing.
- Another Friday Outrage

Columbia final report


Report on Loss of Shuttle Focuses on NASA Blunders. The report blames NASA culture as much as the piece of foam for the shuttle's loss.

Iraq Updates


Iraq is now a hotbed of terrorism. Imagine that?
- U.N. Staff's Immunity From Terror Ends (
- A Mission Imperiled

Fair and Balanced


Cali Edubacation


I was cruising my usual papers, and I noticed that there appears to be a new Op-Ed format that the papers are using for their pieces. It goes somewhat like:

1. Introduce problem
2. Describe how California tried to solve that problem
3. Recommend the opposite

For example, in the NYTimes, Krugman talks about the lessons we can learn from California's energy deregulation. Also, from the Washingtonpost Op-Ed section, Lessons From California ( talks about how not to do tax policy, which places some blame on voter initiatives back by Arnold, who apparently isn't Republican enough for the true Republicans. Gee, and I thought the Daily Show campaign slogan for Arnold would appeal to them: "Cutting violence in half with a laser guided chain saw across a charred landscape... for the children."

Best publicity stunt ever


From yesterday's NYTimes:

>a company in Latham, N.Y., intends to announce on Thursday plans to turn the concept on its head by using superconductors as valves on the electric-utility power grid, letting their temperature rise to choke off the flow of power... Intermagnetics General, will build a prototype device meant to protect the power grid against energy surges.

Company Plans Power 'Valve' Employing Superconductors

(Saw this one in a /. post)