- A great use of the donations of hard working Catholics everywhere: Hire lawyers to get immunity from sex case prosecution.
- Arianna Huffington’s blog post standards below even those of Alt Text. Posting email forwards, however amusing just isn’t right.
- Amazing video of Octopus attacking a shark
- Market economies not the way to bring democracy? Full article.
- 50 year plan to reintroduce lions, elephants, cheetahs and more to North American habitats. – The more you read, the more it sounds like a bad idea – that is if it sounded at all like a good idea at first.
- You suck at supporting our troops!
- Hacking Hybrids to get 250 mpg? Yup. – if you’re not an engineer or are just rich, this company will upgrade your Prius for $12k.
- Flickr for videos?
- Is Google going to try to bring free wi-fi to everyone in the U.S.?
- Barcode tattoos to let people know certain “private” info about yourself? – Some are doing it and new phones read them. Make your own barcode with one of several tools.
- I can think of a lot of reasons the Bush administration should shy away from its recent mantra of personal choice. I am sure many women can too.
- The idea of a global city is interesting to me. There aren’t too many cities (45) that get the distinction. My hometown, Minneapolis manages to sneak into the lowest tier. I am sure the art and culture here have a lot to do with it, but having an international airport and the hub of a major carrier helps.
- Minneapolis is also the 26th most liberal city finds a recent (flawed) study. I say its flawed because it only looked at voting patterns in the last presidential election which is not really a good measure of liberal v. conservative.
- I am happy that Target and The New Yorker have plans for an all Target-based ad issue. Of course I am a bit biased because I like these two groups. If it were Wal-Mart buying all the ads in the Weekly Standard I would likely renounce it as commercial crap.
- Could the LifeStraw be the most important invention of our time?
- Maybe this is the means to which mobile phone and PDA manufacturers get us to enjoy rich media on their devices.
- WWTD: They would soon rollout the video-on-demand service we all know they’ve had in the works for a while now. – Now if they just get with Netflix and offer their full catalog it will really be something.
- WWSOD: What would Sinead O’Conner do? Apparently go Rasta in Jamaica.
- WWSID: What would the smart investor do? Go against, incorrect consensus thinking.
- WSWSSW? What sports would Sharon Stone watch? So-called “lesbian” sports”.
- WWMBAD? What would male Broadway actors do? Strip down more often than their female counterparts (4:1)
- WWYDIYHOTNCUSJ? What would you be doing if you had one of the newly create U.S. jobs? Unfortunately, you would likely be serving food, cleaning, transporting stuff, pushing papers, or working retail. Hypothesis: So you won’t need a college education to work in the U.S.
- WWBD: What will Ben do? Retire this tiring theme.
Here’s a few bits of news and links I have been collecting the past few weeks, relating to my home state of Minnesota. Don’t ever say I don’t represent!
- Christopher Riley plays Radiohead in a piano concerto at Minnesota Orchestra Hall.
- I almost forgot. MNSpeak is a great (new?) website that pulls together a ton of news pertaining to Minnesota. Who would have thought there would be so may posts to peruse?
- The Chicago Tribune has a great article comparing downtown Minneapolis with the Mall of America. “Minneapolis has 30 live theater venues, including two that have won Tonys…The Mall has 32 shoe stores.” People who get upset by the those visitors guides to the U.S. that mention only one stop in our poor “fly-over” state, will take heart in this article.
- Because “more people live in a revitalized downtown Minneapolis today than, we’re told, live in downtown Denver, Dallas, Houston and Indianapolis combined” (quoted from ChiTrib article above) this will be needed: The Nicollet is a huge new residential building set to go up downtown Minneapolis soon. It will still be a foot or two shorter than the IDS Center. Come on!
- hourcar is up and running in the Twin Cities and with prices as low as $2.95/hour and
$0.39/mile it may just convince a few to forgo the cabs or sell their second car.
- A Prairie Home Companion is filming now so there have been several Lindsay Lohan sightings in the cities. I can’t believe this is being made into a movie! But with Robert Altman and now Paul Thomas Anderson taking the directing roles can it be less than good?
- The Minnesota Center For Photography has, what looks like, an amazing exhibit that opened this weekend called: Musicapolis: scene & seen 1965-2005 that chronicles the rich musical history of the Twin Cities from performances by the Beatles and Bob Dylan to Prince and Snoop Dogg. Here is an accompanying story from the Star Tribune
- Battleground Minnesota is “hip hop documentary musical starring Chris “Shakademic” Johnson, Glenn Scott, former Vice President Walter Mondale, Senator Norm Coleman, Senator Mark Dayton, and Governor Tim Pawlenty.” If that description doesn’t get you interested, this preview will.
- 10 CSS tricks you may not know
- Get rich slowly – A great review of personal finance books at foldedspace.org with condensed bullet-point lists from some major ones.
- Many analysts are increasing their projections for Google’s stock price.
- The DOM Scripting Task Force aims to bring standards to the scripting world. I fear they may not have the success they have had with HTML and CSS, but wish them luck.
- Secret memo written by John Reid, the UK defence secretary, claims that U.S. and U.K. forces in Iraq are to be drastically reduced by early next year. US will reduce its forces in Iraq from about 176,000 today to 66,000 by early next year.
- Apple’s switch to Intel chips more to do with iPod than Mac?
- I love the new Frank Gehry designs for the area around the proposed Brooklyn Nets arena. – I love that he didn’t do anything with wavy metal facades again and I really just love the way the buildings look like they are organically sprouting from the ground.
- Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries – as chosen by a group of conservative “thinkers”.
- Somewhat addictive, very difficult planarity flash game.
- 2/3 of World’s Resources Used Up
- Tom Cruise’s antics leading to increased interest in scientology.com site
More often than not, if I happen to mention a product or service on Alt Text it tends to be a gripe or a slam of that product or service. Does that mean that I am generally disliking the products of the world or that I am a pessimist? No, I think it means that it is easy for a product or service to screw up and annoy me. Annoyance or dissatisfaction is a much more powerful motivator than satisfaction and so i am more motivated to write about crappy products or services. So when I do end up reviewing a service that has exceeded my expectations you know that I have been more than satisfied.
My latest experience worthy of writing about was with Progressive Auto Insurance. Let me start by saying that I have never had anything but a good experience with Progressive. From my initial online quote (a painless questionnaire that gave me the rates I could expect within minutes) to my recent claim, I have had great service. A couple years ago when I was surprised to learn that Progressive could insure both my old car and my new car for the same amount that I was paying for just the old one, I was pretty happy. That happiness, however, was always tempered with a nagging feeling that when it was time to make a claim this online company was going to give some of that famous online service – translated: local agents would do a much better job and I would be in for many headaches. (in fact I had many people say this to me – and to them I say nah nah nah nah nah nah)
March started out with a bang. My wife and I got in a car accident (we were rear-ended) at about 7:20 in the morning. After dropping my wife off at work I drove to work and called in the claim around 10:30. I left my info and a brief accident report with the woman on the phone and she promised a local agent would contact me within 2 hours. Within 30 minutes my call was returned by a local agent and he told me he could be out to my office in an hour. He came out, driving his little, Progressive truck, and asked me some questions for about 15 minutes and then said I could return to work and he would come in to get me after he had taken some photos with his digital camera and made a report and estimate.
About 30 minutes later, the agent met with me to review the damage/repair report (which was typed up and printed out), the options available to me for service companies, which was any body shop of my choosing although they did give me a list of recommended shops. I chose one of those and the agent then faxed my report to the shop which in turn, ordered the necessary parts. What’s more is the agent printed out a check (minus deductible) right there and gave it to me and told me to wait until the shop contacted me when the parts were in. This was great! not only did the agent get me a check and get my parts ordered the same afternoon but he did it all from that little truck which was all decked out with computer, fax, and internet connection. I have nothing but good things to say about Progressive, and nothing more to say this fine Monday night.
Our government is spending more that $6 billion to advertise the 2000 census. That is over $20 for for each person in the U.S.
To date they have had somewhere between a 30% and 40% return rate. Don’t you think if they simply said they would send you $20 to fill this out you would?
Man, stuff like this makes me mad.