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Misc.

On Driving a Vespa

Jeremy Clarkson on driving a Vespa:

Recently, various newspapers ran a photograph of me on a small motorcycle. They all pointed out that I hate motorbikes and that by riding one I had exposed myself as a hypocrite who should commit suicide immediately.

Hmmm. Had I been photographed riding the local postmistress, then, yes, I’d have been shamed into making some kind of apology. But it was a motorcycle. And I don’t think it even remotely peculiar that a motoring journalist should ride such a thing. Not when there is a problem with the economy and many people are wondering if they should make a switch from four wheels to two.

Unfortunately, you cannot make this switch on a whim, because this is Britain and there are rules. Which means that before climbing on board you must go to a car park, put on a high-visibility jacket and spend the morning driving round some cones while a man called Dave — all motorcycle instructors are called Dave ((I took a motorcycle safety class many years ago in Washington, DC. My instructor’s name was…Dave.)) — explains which lever does what.

Afterwards, you will be taken on the road, where you will drive about for several hours in a state of abject fear and misery, and then you will go home and vow never to get on a motorcycle ever again.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Winterspeak.)

Categories
Misc.

Must-Have T-Shirt: Re-elect Clay Davis

I love it. The Re-elect Clay Davis T-shirt. From the best TV show ever created.

(Via Kottke.)

Categories
Misc.

A “Global SuperOrganism”

Kevin Kelly:

I am not the first, nor the only one, to believe a superorganism is emerging from the cloak of wires, radio waves, and electronic nodes wrapping the surface of our planet. No one can dispute the scale or reality of this vast connectivity. What’s uncertain is, what is it? Is this global web of computers, servers and trunk lines a mere mechanical circuit, a very large tool, or does it reach a threshold where something, well, different happens?

So far the proposition that a global superorganism is forming along the internet power lines has been treated as a lyrical metaphor at best, and as a mystical illusion at worst. I’ve decided to treat the idea of a global superorganism seriously, and to see if I could muster a falsifiable claim and evidence for its emergence.

My hypothesis is this: The rapidly increasing sum of all computational devices in the world connected online, including wirelessly, forms a superorganism of computation with its own emergent behaviors.

(Emphasis mine.)

(Via Deeplinking.)

Categories
Misc.

CSM to cease daily print publication

Christian Science Paper to End Daily Print Edition. [NYTimes.com]

Categories
Misc.

Exploring Tumblr

Tumblr is a free blogging platform that makes posting material — whether it’s images, audio, video, links, or text — extremely easy.

Because I’m interested in all things Web publishing-related, I’ve set up an experimental tumblr page — er, tumblelog — at newley.tumblr.com. I don’t know if I’ll continue to updating it or not, but I’d heard a lot about the service and wanted to give it a spin.

At the expense of sounding ridiculous to those of you who — quite understandably — could care less about the technical minutia of a typical blogging workflow, I’ll just say this: The platform offers a great way to share interesting digital snippets that aren’t quite right for Twitter‘s 140-character maximum length and yet might not justify a full-length blog post. In addition, items can be posted to tumblr extremely quickly — as in a matter of seconds.

Some disparate items I’ve posted to tumbler over the last few weeks include:

— A somewhat silly (and quite clearly impromptu), two-minute, 26-second audio recording I made in a taxi in Kolkata, India last November.

— This striking image of a daring motorcycle design. ((Motorcycling-related link worth checking out: Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.))

— A YouTube video of a financial reporter explaining the economic meltdown (yes, I’m still fixated on how best to explain the subprime crisis).

Some people use tumblr for minimalist photo blogs, while others, such as my friend Lee, use them to aggregate their various online postings (images from Flickr, bookmarks on Delicious, etc.).

I’m unsure how — or even if — I’ll continue using tumblr, but I thought it might be of interest to some of you out there who’re looking for an ultra-simple way to share material online.

Further reading:

Lifehacker: “Geek to Live: Instant, no-overhead blog with Tumblr”

“I don’t have the time to keep it up.”

“I don’t have that much to say that often.”

These are the reasons most people abandon their personal weblog or never start one. But we all come across interesting tidbits online every day that we want to remember and share – links, photos, videos, even that side-splitting IM session you had with your co-worker. A new blog format, called a “tumblelog,” is a no-hassle, no-writing-required way to share those bits and maintain a personal site with the least possible commitment.

Webmonkey: “Get Started with Tumblr”

Do you miss the days when blogging seemed simple and exciting? Have you ever stared at the blank text input field in WordPress until you began to fill with dread?

While WordPress, Movable Type and similar blogging engines certainly make it easy to set up a blog with a robust content management system, sometimes the software itself is overkill. Sometimes you just want to post a picture or a quick snippet of text and be done with it.

That’s more or less the thinking that inspired Tumblr, a dead simple blogging system that makes it easy to post a quick note, an image, a link or a YouTube video and then get on with your real life.