Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just Downright Heartless

I was reading an interesting book on design driven development called The Inmates are Running the Asylum . One of the passages struck me in that development nerds, tech geeks, were the new bullying jocks of the tech world. It had some interesting analogies and examples I could relate to. Where physical prowess was power back then, knowledge is power now.

And there are the good jocks and the really nasty bullies impressed with their own strength. I was reading Wired this month and noticed a new word on the fringe: cloaker. Apparently, doctors use radio signals to adjust the setting of pacemakers. Better than a USB port. Makes sense. Apparently some tech-savvy predators have designed devices that can mimic these signals so they can prey upon sickly patients. What would submit to if someone literally had the key to your heart?

Cloakers are a new method that masks the signal and keeps us safe from the tech predators. But man is that cold ...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Cheese of the Month: Epoisses

Well, this blog is more than big ideas and serious topics. I want to lend my expertise in other areas. Like food. God, do I love food. And few food items are as exquisite, diverse and yet so ubiquitous as cheese. And cheese is one of the stranger foods out there. In order to preserve the dairy products (milk, cream, butter) the solution is to let the bacteria and yeast grow? Of course! I wonder how many failed experiments happened here where people ate absolutely ranky cheese before the right balance and formula was reached.

But I digress...

If you do appreciate cheese and you know me well enough to understand how good a food must be to highlight it here, then you should be getting your coat on right now to go and purchase what I am about to recommend.

Without further ado. The first highlighted cheese.

Epoisses, a favorite of Napolean, is absolutely one of my favorite cheeses. It is made by soaking the rind in the local liquor from Bourgogne giving it an organic orange color. It has pungent odor, but the flavor is mild and oaky with a complex finish that makes you wonder why you ever bought that El Presidente brie that is really glorified butter. At room temperature - which you must serve it at - it is gooey enough to run, like a beautiful chocolate souffle, but has enough consistency not to get messy or separate into a liquidy mess. It is A.O.C. certified, which means the preparation has to adhere to specific historic methods. No copying or bastardization. It's the real deal and it is unpasteurized. It is divine.

Here's the long and the short of it. If you are looking for a creamy (you might say brie-like, but I woudln't insult it that way) cheese for your palatte, you would be hard pressed to find a better cheese than Epoisses. And yes, you can find it at Whole Foods. If you coat's on, I would run and go get it now. Oh and get a nice Burgundy to enjoy with it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Acknowledging our Responsibilities to Change

I hope 2009 will be the year we start re-establishing democracy in America. As I noted in my earlier blog entry, democracy here has been under attack. The basis of our liberties have been compromised and our moral standing as a nation in question.

While on vacation, I read a couple books and finished Naomi Wolf’s Give Me Liberty. I thought one of the more striking points that she made is the simple lack of education and awareness of the fundamentals of our democracy. After reading several educational pieces in the NY Times this week, the situation seems pretty dire. You are more likely to get the right multiple-choice answers about fundamental documents, ideas or people who shaped our nation by flipping a coin than by asking an American.

At this point, you might say to yourself, yeah it is sad. All those people. Not so fast, mon frère. Let’s start with a simple test.

Take the Declaration of Independence. Most Americans will default to the only sentence they know. The first (of the second paragraph). How sad an ADHD generation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

But while the document is about equality and universal empowerment of the people, it is more about a statement of purpose – not only independence from the government of England, but more interestingly government in general. In typical 18th century argumentation, the most important arguments are at the end, the sentences no one can recite. What is most interesting in re-reading the old prose is that not that it sets up the ability for citizens to revolt against oppressive government, it demands the responsibility of the citizens that indeed they do.

How lost on our generation as we have rolled over with minimal resistance while our government has transferred wealth from us to the ultra-rich, violated Geneva conventions and more. How do we re-empower the people. Everyone feels so helpless. This is not what John Hancock and all the founders risked their lives for. The reason his signature is so large is that he knew he was signing his death warrant if they were to lose. We have lost all sense of sacrifice in our mail order microsuede couch world. Perhaps it is time for everyone to review and rethink about the peaceful ways we can revolt. And yes, I have a plan for me and one for Obama (coming soon). Take a read ...

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So you may not be able to take out the US government. But it is time we provide new Guards for our future security. And that's more then just one election.