Giant Pool of Money

A recent This American Life episode does a great job of telling the story of the Housing Bubble/Mortgage Crisis:

It filled in a part of the story which I didn’t understand, which was the pool of money that fed into this machine. Definitely worth a listen.

It’s also got a Ben Mezrich-like chapter, with requisite celebrities, clubs, and bottles of Cristal for some of the key players.

Posted in Misc | 1 Comment

My Hero: Tony Gwynn

Since 1983, when he broke into the majors, my personal hometown hero has been the retired baseball player, Tony Gwynn. He’s currently the baseball coach at San Diego State. Last year he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I wanted to list out the reasons I admire him, so here goes:

  • He has an impeccable work ethic. He applied this to baseball skills, especially in the use of video tape to analyze his stance and swing as a hitter.
  • Combined with hard work, he found a niche, and worked that niche his whole career. His niche was hitting singles as opposed to home runs. In this era of Moneyball and Sabermetrics, he might have been more appreciated, nonetheless he hit .394 in 1994. This is a feat that might never be replicated.
  • He is a genuinely nice guy.
  • He has an unabashed love of fast food. He may have to pay for that in old age, but he loved it anyway. Despite being overweight, he generally avoided injury.
  • He never had to cheat to excel. While it’s becoming well-known that his peers were looking for shortcuts in the 80s and 90s, Gwynn has never been implicated in any steroid scandals. His lack of power numbers supports that. “But everyone else is doing it” probably didn’t even register.
  • He was loyal to the team and the city: He took less money to be happier playing for his hometown.
  • He didn’t get a lot of glory as he spent his whole career in a small market (Mexico to the south, water to the west, desert to the east, Dodger Blue to the north).

Adding it all up: This small-market player, who “just” hit singles and doubles, with a taste for Taco Bell, was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, my an overwhelming margin, with a vote total on par with Cal Ripken (another hard worker). Best of luck to Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds in even making it to the Hall of Fame.

I have my Tony Gwynn bobblehead proudly displayed in my cube. :)

(image credit)

Posted in Misc | 1 Comment

“Python is the new BASIC”

Dave Winer wrote that, in reference to Google App Engine.

If you agree with Dave, and you’re new to Python, I recommend focusing on the first chapter of Python Essential Reference. It’s the best 10-page overview of a programming language I’ve ever come across, and refer back to those pages often. I’ve written numerous scripts and have grown to really like Python over the years (it’s big inside Google), and this book has been indispensable.

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Rapidly Increase Twitter Followers by Not Twittering

I think I’m getting a taste for using Twitter as a Marketing Tool!(tm).

My Followers total has surged since I posted this update:

I dare not resume Twittering for fear of turning off potential new Followers…

Posted in Internet | 4 Comments

Tracking April Fool’s

The posts are starting to trickle out of the time zones that are ~ 9 hours ahead of Mountain View, and into the feedreader.

Here’s one I spotted on Google Operating System:

You’ll be able to select from a list of approximately 100 ranking signals like: the page’s self-importance, the number of original ideas, the IQs of their authors, the number of links from Wikipedia, and decide their importance.

Heh, nice…

Looking forward to more.


Waxy and Anil have (will have) this covered in spades.

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Rickrolling Inflection Point

I asked on Twitter the other day, if “Rickrolling” was reaching an inflection point of popularity. I have been Rickrolled three times in the past couple of weeks.

I’m thinking I’m correct, as the New York Times has written up the meme. Also, some Google Trends data supports it:

Rickrolling Google Trends 12 months

Well, that’s more of a hammock than a hockey stick, but it’s growth nonetheless…

Posted in Internet | 4 Comments