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Join 200+ people who get an occasional Vacuum essay by e-mail & news of dinner events.

In a reasonably recent issue: "When you get distracted, as you eventually will be, be distracted with a purpose. If you are scatterbrained at times by nature take glory in it and make the odd connections that no one else will. No one else thinks the way you do and no one else has your unique combinations of skills and experiences."

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Nature abhors a vacuum. So does my cat.
"unauthorized duplication, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing"

Thursday, August 3, 2000

Michigan-themed haiku the right hands springs up
left points to places on it

Wednesday, August 2, 2000

a model for problem solving Psychologist Karl Weick (1984) has devised a way of approaching problems that makes them more manageable and thus makes responses to the problems more successful: focusing on small wins. Weick points out that as people begin examining social problems, they tend to do so on a massive scale. For example, they may look at eliminating unemployment, mental illness, homelessness, or crime. Social problems are often presented in this way in an effort to mobilize greater action. Such a broad consideration of social ills tends to overpower a community's ability to conceive innovative ways to address them. When faced with problems of this magnitude, people experience frustration, anxiety, and helplessness, which limit the quality of their responses.

A realist view of leadership Those of us who work in complex organisations have a choice: we can continue to make ourselves hostages to the deeds of gung-ho big-picture types if we want to, but we should always ask ourselves whether in doing so we will secure the kind of desired outcome we want: i.e., enduring, tangible and sustained gains in improved overall performance. Small wins soon tally into meaningful and accrued differences, whereas the transitory buzz and ephemera given off by soul soon dissipate into the ether. From trait theory through right through to transformational leadership, I suggest, there is nothing else left which might further commend our traditional perspectives on leadership, in which case the individual leader as the unit of analysis may have all but run her or his race. So, if soul is the answer, then one can only conclude that it must be a hell of a question.

Saturday, July 15, 2000

Steven Pippin: Press: Pippin, who is British, has turned other things into cameras as well. In 1987, at the age of 27, he transformed a public photo booth, situated on a London street, into a pinhole camera by fixing a wooden panel into its doorway and covering the opposite wall with a 27-by-67-inch sheet of photo-sensitive paper. A tiny hole was uncovered while the artist stood motionless facing the booth for 20 minutes. Passersby walked to and fro around him leaving no trace on the final image. They are, however, clearly visible on the accompanying videotape. For Pippin-who seems to be in stop-action while everyone else scurries funnily about-the world stands still while things transpire all around him. thanks whump

Friday, July 14, 2000

dogwash dogwash /dog'wosh/ [From a quip in the `urgency' field of a very optional software change request, ca. 1982. It was something like "Urgency: Wash your dog first".] 1. n. A project of minimal priority, undertaken as an escape from more serious work. 2. v. To engage in such a project. Many games and much freeware get written this way. (Including this weblog).

Wednesday, June 28, 2000

'HTTP on steroids' to ease protocol work, 06/26/00 A new communications technology created by one of the Internet's most prolific authors and developers is generating buzz within the Internet engineering community, prompting an effort to standardize the technology before its anticipated launch next year. The Blocks Extensible Exchange Protocol (BXXP) is the brainchild of Marshall Rose, an expert on network management, messaging and directory services, who helped write several key Internet standards including Post Office Protocol 3, Simple Message Transfer Protocol and SNMP. Rose's latest creation is a general-purpose framework for creating Internet applications protocols that serve as an alternative to the aging HTTP used for Web browsing.

Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Sam Lipson on Capital Markets Trading Floors, LISA '95 Financial trading has been described as technological warfare. Whether or not you believe the metaphor, trading systems certainly involve a tremendous need for highly reliable, interruption free, real-time data. Real-time, in this case, means presented accurately and without delay. Current practice of medium to large trading floors often involves Unix based workstations and significant attention to reliability. There are issues to be addressed during the construction of the physical facility, the planning and installation of the systems, and various rules of the road for support personnel. This paper attempts to address many of these areas. In this paper some of today's common practices and the rationale behind them will be described. It is the goal to take some of the mystery of out the black art of trading floor design and support.

The Western Union Telegraph Company had been established only 15 years when Charlie Tilghman was a "stock" messenger in Cincinnati, Ohio. The story, as he tells it briefly, of early developments in Western Union's ticker service is a story also of his own resourceful rise to the position of General Superintendent of Ticker Services. IC Article: 4/20/00: Etzioni: For Internet-free Zones In short, we need to sit down with our families and decide on which days to dine together and shut off all beckoning devices (even the TV), and which holidays and vacations are going to be as sacrosanct as one can make them. This is, of course, the easy part. How to ensure that the new work and commerce culture continues to thrive but also defines impenetrable zones for other pursuits is a challenge we are just beginning to face. These decisions will greatly affect the future of our families, communities, culture, civility and sanity.

Friday, June 23, 2000

Vague Archives Health advice on drinking leather, 1870 From The Michigan Argus of Friday 23 September, 1870, page 1, column 6. "Never Drink Milk in Your Tea.-- It is said that when we pour milk into a cup of tea or coffee the albumen of the milk and the tannin of the tea instantly unite and form leather, or minute flakes of the very same compound which is produced by the texture of tanned hide, and which makes it leather as distinguishable from the original skin. In the course of a year, a tea-drinker of average habits will have imbibed leather enough to make a pair of shoes, if it could be put into the proper shape for the purpose."

Spring 1999 Michigan Today---Letters Reader Vielmetti enclosed an article that reported that from 1920 to 1940 the seven children of grocer Max Vielmetti of Norway, Michigan, and his wife, Mary, posted the following record at U-M--Ed Henry M. '25 Dentistry Clarence A. '25 Engineering Douglas E. '27 Engineering Chester J. '31 Engineering Alfio A. '34 LSA Howard '36, '39 Law Marie '39, '40 MA

Thursday, June 1, 2000

From the latest Vacuum newsletter: Things I'd like to do every day
Meet someone new
Reconnect with someone I haven't seen for a while
Write a postcard or a letter
Talk to family
Walk in the fresh air
Exercise 30 minutes
Cook a meal
Read a book
Write in my notebooks
Make an investment for the future
Save a penny
Visit with a neighbor
Make a long-distance call
Share an opinion
Review a book
Organize an event
Listen to music
Talk to a child
Talk to a retired person
Plan a trip
Throw out trash
Take my medicine
Make a connection or a referral
Take a photograph
Pet the cat
Fix something that's broken
Ride my bike somewhere new
Donate to a good cause
Wake up refreshed
Play with a child
Speak a foreign language
Read a newspaper
Learn a new skill
(And still have a little time left for work)

Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Chicago Tribune | Nation World -- SAD, SHORT AND PERPLEXING LIFE OF COMPUTER WHIZ MILWAUKEE -- By all accounts Phillip W. Katz was a genius, a mathematical whiz kid who shook up the computer industry with a simple but ingenious concept called "zipping": using standard algorithms to compress data so information could be stored on disks more efficiently and transmitted over phone lines more quickly and inexpensively. But the tale of his short life and lonely death is a radical departure from most high-tech success stories today, a footnote of human frailty in an age of powerful computers and cocky young millionaires. When they found Katz last month in Room 566 of a Milwaukee hotel, he had an empty bottle of peppermint schnapps cradled in his left arm and a dent in his head from dying propped against the nightstand.

Thursday, April 20, 2000

Q131109 - Explorapedia Nature: Earth Rotates in Wrong Direction The information in this article applies to: Microsoft Explorapedia series: World of Nature for Windows, version 1.0
SUMMARY When you run Explorapedia and use the Exploratron to look at the Earth spinning, the Earth rotates in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, April 19, 2000

New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG) The New England Light Pollution Advisory Group (NELPAG) is a volunteer group founded during the autumn of 1993 for the purpose of educating the public on the virtues of efficient, glare-free outdoor night lighting (and the benefits of no lighting at all for many outdoor applications). The NELPAG sponsors irregular meetings throughout the New England region that bring together lighting engineers, physicians, power utility representatives, government officials, astronomers, journalists, and the general public for discussion of improvement in outdoor night lighting. The goals of the NELPAG have been to provide resources to people involved in outdoor lighting issues, from state and city/town officials discussing the implementation of laws and bylaws, to utility companies who are concerned with street lighting, to ordinary people interested in lighting their store parking lot (or even their driveway or yard).

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Cosmic Baseball Assocation The CBA is a baseball league of the imagination. Our focus on the great game of the quadrature is more poetic than athletic. Beginning with the notion that the game of baseball is really a metaphor for the life of the mind, CBA expresses itself with the desire for and love of individual and collective creation. We hope the Cosmic Baseball Association will be experienced as an art exhibit or as an educational resource. It could also be enjoyed as just a fantasy game of the imagination played for fun and for pleasure and for laughs. Seriously. thanks deborah

Monday, April 3, 2000

Cubicle april fools Someone had a bad day. thanks roger

Sunday, April 2, 2000 iMac review TV ad Jay, an armed computer expert, provides a critical review of the Apple iMac ... one bullet at a time. too good a video clip to waste on tv

Friday, March 31, 2000

Woman Sentenced in Viola Murder Plot (SF Examiner via AP News) A woman who stole a rare Italian viola from a junk dealer, conspired to have him murdered and later married him, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison.

Tuesday, March 14, 2000

The FNwire | GM Releases 'Effluvium' EFFLUVIUM: THE SMALL CAR THAT POLLUTES MORE GM Sub-Compact Packs Noxious Punch, But Is It Enough?
DETROIT, MICH. ( — Claiming it has filled the final niche in the automotive market, General Motors yesterday unveiled the 2001 Chevrolet Effluvium, a sub-compact gas guzzler that, boasted one GM executive, "eats up ozone like a four-cylinder, coal-burning power plant." Industry observers declared the new model bold, surprising, and asinine.

Saturday, March 11, 2000

Extreme Networking No roads lead here. There is no sun for half the year. The nearest place to get supplies is 800 miles away, the nearest city is some 3,000 miles away, and the only way to get here is by plane, weather permitting. Welcome to the U.S. Amundsen-Scott South Pole station, home to just 250 people during the Antarctic summer and one-fifth that number the rest of the year. Until recently, their communications with the rest of the world were extremely limited. That changed with the arrival of voice over IP.

LifeSet has an edition of collectable postcards out for the SXSW conference. thanks will

Thursday, March 9, 2000

Pudding Guy turns 12,150 cups of chocolate pudding into 1,215,000 airline miles I started off buying cans of soup. Then I discovered the chocolate pudding angle. When I found individual cups of pudding selling for $0.25, I escalated my plans, driving to about 15 Grocery Store Outlet stores in a weekend. I filled up my van with chocolate pudding. After that, I made contact with a local Grocery Store Outlet manager and had him special order me 60 more cases of 144! Are you ready for my totals? 12,150 cups of chocolate pudding bought for $3,140 (all doubled) for a total of 1,215,000 miles! thanks eliot

Sunday, March 5, 2000

The Contrary Garden They make it sound so simple. Gardening doesn't have to end in October, or December, or even February. It doesn't begin in March or May. With the eloquent passion of Down East preachers, Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch are trying to convince the cold world to just say no to the standard gardening calendar. The proof is in the vegetables they harvest at their Harborside home every day of the year, just as Eliot has done at his previous homes in northern New England for the past two decades.

Tuesday, February 29, 2000

Powell's Books from their Leap Day Swimsuit Edition newsletter. FUP. STORE CAT. Fup was never going to go for this. She sat one branch below Bear in the tree, luxuriating in the cloud of hickory smoke wafting up from the grill. Her nose lurched forward now and then, stirring fresh spices through the muggy air. Around her, all the tell-tale signs of a typical hot, Portland February: neighborhood kids playing Red Rover in sprinklers spread throughout the North Park Blocks, barefoot Tech store customers rushing across the burning pavement to the cool lawn, writers soaking themselves in the gurgling spray of loosed hydrants. Sebastian approached the tree cradling a case of tuna before him. "There is absolutely no way I'm putting on the swimsuit," Fup told him. "Get away from me. Go away with your camera and your tuna, and tell Dave if he had anything to do with this, I think there are a few things we have to discuss."

Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Codes In Quilts Pointed Way To Freedom For Slaves
By JANE GORDON The Hartford Courant February 21, 2000
Not enough people, Jacqueline Tobin says, listen to old people's stories. Not enough listen to the stories of African Americans, either. And to be an old African American woman is to be talking into thin air. In 1994, Tobin, a historian and collector, was strolling through a marketplace in Charleston, S.C., and when an elderly African American woman pulled her over, she listened. The woman, standing amid piles of quilts for sale, asked, "Did you know that quilts were used by slaves to communicate on the Underground Railroad?" found on the cryptography mailing list

Saturday, February 19, 2000

Viridian design competition "The Viridian Electricity Meter is a household energy consumption meter that resides in a prominent place inside the home. Its purpose is to provide accurate, compelling, and artistically fascinating feedback to homeowners about their current energy use. Users are rewarded aesthetically for reducing energy consumption (and for switching their energy source to a renewable one). In other words, the more sustainable their energy consumption, the more beautiful and fascinating the meters' display." thanks red rock eater

Monday, February 7, 2000

At Cisco Systems, Bland Is Better Jason Krause (Industry Standard) The toughest thing about visiting Cisco Systems' campus in San Jose, Calif., is navigation. The networking giant's headquarters is a maze of blandly beige buildings with green trim, all but one of them four stories tall. (The headquarters building boldly stretches five stories.) The sameness is by design: Cisco CEO John Chambers decreed that the buildings be identical and nondescript so they'd be easy to rent out if the company ever had to downsize. welcome to cafe beige

Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Math and Science Book Reviews from Jef Raskin. "These are brief notes on an eclectic set of books--suitable for high-school and gifted middle-school students-- that I think will interest my friends and math / science teachers (the categories are not mutually exclusive). This list consists of books I happened to run across in my unsystematic search for good reads. None of them are textbooks, but almost all are useful for enrichment material. I have not hesitated to mention a few clinkers to avoid. Adult science and math aficionados will also enjoy most of them (you are an aficionado, I am a junkie)."

Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Forbes (2-7-2000) Hall of Mirrors ... Web companies are compiling (and selling access to) huge databases that hold the subtlest nuances of users' online behavior and interests, applying sophisticated analysis programs, profiling techniques and "collaborative filtering." The advances will let sites not just target which ads pop up on your screen, but also alter their content on the fly to present customized images tailored to each individual. The Internet will look less like a digital commons and more like a hall of mirrors, showing you reflections of yourself everywhere you look. thanks valdis

The Ultimate Build Your Own Cow Page! This is a cow. A different cow than most others. Arguably the most modular cow in exsitence. Select required ammount of each CowModule™ then click CHANGE button below. thanks /usr/bin/girl

Monday, January 24, 2000

new weblog series started. testing. the taking of pelham 1 2 3. testing.

Earlier log entries in the previous log.

15 May 1999 and earlier

See weblog 0001 for earlier entries.

Notes afterwards

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