Tuesday October 1, 2013

Filed under: general — jackman @ 6:01 pm

Back in DC for a spot of work… Flew here on Day One of the Federal government shutdown. Not that you’d know if from the traffic coming in from Dulles at rush hour.

I sat next to a lobbyist on the flight. He’s with a bank, trying to get some proposed Dodd-Frank reporting requirements watered down. He fell asleep, woke with a start, bumped into me. Said he was dreaming about his golf swing. Said he wiffed it.

I had a drink or two at the Willard, dinner on the sidewalk, distracted now and then by the jets like rockets, through the trees over the Mall, coming out of National (um, Reagan), flying that slightly crazed up-stream Potomac departure.

The Indian waiter recommended the Rhone he sold me to the table of tourists from the PRC, lugging their Nieman Marcus booty around. DC might be the nation’s capital, but even (or perhaps especially) two blocks from the White House, it is crazy cosmopolitan…

The humidity of a DC summer is gone, but its still warm enough to stay dine outside. October 1, 2013, Washington DC. A beautiful night.

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cricket and politics

Monday August 12, 2013

Filed under: Australian Politics,general — jackman @ 11:09 am

Utterly unscientific, but I can’t help but think the incumbent (Labor) would be doing better if Australia had a better cricket side right now.

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low altitude alert on 28L, SFO, portent of Asiana crash?

Monday July 8, 2013

Filed under: flight nerdery,general — jackman @ 4:36 pm

So the Asiana crash landing at SFO reminded me of the following weird coincidence.

One week ago, on July 1, I flew SFO-LHR on UAL 930. The pilot piped through ATC on Ch 9 (one of the nerdy things I like about flying United).

Just before we were given our takeoff clearance, SFO tower alerted an incoming flight to 28L that it was too low. The flight in question was UAL 1601 (IAH-SFO).

28L is the same runway that Asiana was trying to land on, with ILS out this summer; they’ve being doing some work on the runway there.

I went to the liveatc.net audio archive to download the KSFO tower comms from that day and time (mp3). Note that liveatc.net timestamps in Zulu time and stores 30 minute archives.

At about the 23:38 minute mark comes the low altitude alert from SFO tower to UAL 1601:

TWR: “Low altitude alert United 1601, check your altitude. San Francisco altimeter two niner eight three”.

A brief response follows, presumably from UAL 1601.

At the time I thought “wow, you don’t hear that often”. And I forgot all about it until the Asiana crash.

Pretty cool you can go recover that from liveatc.net.

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State of Origin in the USA

Tuesday June 4, 2013

Filed under: general — jackman @ 7:21 pm

All times Eastern, so 2.30am here in California…. “Check with your local cable or satellite operator”, but Fox Soccer Channel has the US broadcast rights. Set your TiVos appropriately, etc.

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Democracy and the Data Revolution: my TEDx talk

Thursday May 16, 2013

Filed under: general — jackman @ 5:55 am

…from TEDx Sydney, got picked up by the TEDx global site.

Links: blog.tedx.com and at tedxsydney.com.

Thanks to everyone at TEDx Sydney for letting me be part of an amazing event. The organization of the event was terrific, the production value and support absolutely sumptuous (the Sydney Opera House!).

Edwina Throsby (my producer) and I had been bouncing ideas and drafts around for a couple of months; Gretel Killeen joined Edwina in knocking the talk into shape during rehearsals.

My thanks to David Broockman and Chris Skovron for letting me use their same-sex marriage example.

I also need to thank Margaret Stewart (herself a “big” TED veteran) (and check this out) and family, from whom I appropriated the “It’s Your Duty To Hack” sign appearing at the end of the talk.

And this is too beautiful not to link to (bump it up to HD, full-screen etc):

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4 Rochester PhDs in AAAS 2013 PoliSci class (Meliora!)

Thursday April 25, 2013

Filed under: general — jackman @ 10:18 am

At the risk of being a little self-serving…

7 political scientists were elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences this year. 4 of them (er, us) got their degrees from Rochester in the early to mid 1990s: Daniel, John, me and Alastair.

And 3 of the 4 Rochester people were born/raised outside of the US.

Oh, Meliora… And congratulations.

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Why David Brooks is like another musty old tory…

Friday November 2, 2012

Filed under: general — jackman @ 4:58 pm

At the risk of flattering Brooks, his rant re Nate and probabilities did remind me of Edmund Burke howling at the moon:

…the age of chivalry is gone.

That of sophisters, economists; and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.

from Reflections on the Revolution in France.

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SoCal Ephemera

Monday September 10, 2012

Filed under: general — jackman @ 7:30 am

My mate Mal Enright collects ephmera, particularly of the printed sort (a kind of “urban archaeology“).

And in SoCal, its all about parking. Future generations will wonder “what the hell was it with them and the parking?”

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I ordered a new Pod

Sunday September 9, 2012

Filed under: general — jackman @ 7:05 pm

On summer spells back in Australia I like to practice the wonderful art of bod-surfing, sometimes augmented by a handboard. I own a beautiful hand-crafted wooden handboard called a Pod, that I bought in Sydney many moons ago (at either Gowings or the Remo General Store, I forget).

Anyway, we just got back from a very relaxing week in Southern California, staying with friends in Venice. I had two awesome days of body-surfing and boogie-boarding, and got inspired to go chasing a new Pod.

To my delight, you can still get them, over the web. The maker, Shane Vassallo, even emailed me after I placed my order:

Thanks Simon,

Yes I only handcraft what I have time over winter, however this is the first batch I have made in over 5-6 years, I have selected a nice board for you good weight around 420 grams and nice grain, board number 519

Best regards

These things are wicked when you pick up the right kind of wave. Here is some YouTube video (not featuring a Pod), with some nice waves off La Jolla (very body-surf friendly breaks there).

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Palo Alto executive arrested for Lego theft

Tuesday May 22, 2012

Filed under: general — jackman @ 9:42 pm

“And now for something completely different…”

Click on the thumbnail for higher-res JPG.

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