Serendipitous find of the day

I was testing out a humongous mashup of Flickr, RSS, Google, Technorati that I created for Chapter 9 of “Adding Ajax”, when I clicked through on the tags for a Flickr photo of Chihuly glass, which led to a weblog post that features a video of the MBG Chihuly exhibit closing; accompanied by an interview with a smart young man who seems to know more about greenhouse gases than most of Washington DC; interspersed with quotes from famous people read by a safari-hat wearing Dickson Beall; ragtime jazz playing the background.

The site is WaterSANA, a site dedicated to environmentalism, featuring the Green TV Guide: eclectic videos combining tours of sites from throughout St. Louis, political commentary, interviews, music, and quotes, all packaged up into bite size pieces about two minutes long. If the above video I described doesn’t grab you, then may I also recommend Tiger, Bach, Lincoln, TwainA tiger answers the call of nature during the week that George W. Bush (the ungrateful biped) had an urge for a surge toward success in Iraq. Or Pony Express, Cars, Stars, and Fools.


Falling Out

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Shel Israel, in comments to Robert Scoble’s post, where he mentions he’s being paid to be keynote speaker at the PayPerPost conference (yes, that PayPerPost):

I am personally disappointed that you have chosen to do this. To me Pay for Post represents everything that the book you and I wrote opposes. I wish you would change your mind. This will not help your reputation.

One more thought, Robert. You taught me the standards for blogging that I adhere to. It is what you taught me that makes me so passionately oppose Pay per Post, who have shown themselves to be the sidewalk hookers of the blogosphere. Robert, I really hope you cancel. In the long run, you will be doing PodTech a service.

Now what was it Robert said, back in October about PayPerPost?

To hear that one of the illuminati is taking filthy lucre from the despised PayPerPost, after all such sneered at the little people who earned bucks to do things like, oh, pay rent or buy food, does demonstrate that too many people are quite willing to define rules they can’t live by themselves.

Speaking of which, there’s the Techcruch 20 conference, being billed as a humanitarian act to help the poor, financially burdened startups, being hosted by Mike Arrington and Jason Calacanis. Oh if only someone will donate some space–I’m sure that neither Arrington nor Calacanis is going to benefit, personally, from such generosity.

They asked Dave Winer to be on the planning committee. Yup, three mentos sitting on a stick, just waiting for the diet coke.

Then there’s the Nick Denton and Gawker playfulness, where Gawker ads were sandwiched around copyrighted material and then uploaded to YouTube: probably one of the acts that triggered so much anger against YouTube and a mass DCMA take down effort:

For the past three months, an employee at Gawker Media has posted copyright videos sandwiched between ads for Gawker-owned properties such as Valleywag and Gizmodo.

At least 50 videos were uploaded by the Gawker employee since October from such shows as ABC’s Good Morning America and Inside Edition and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

Perhaps Mr. Denton will have to resort to scrawling his ads on his own forehead, eh?

I know this is little interest for most of you, and I hope you’ll forgive me as I indulge in a spate of unseemly gloating as the White Boys with the Most tear themselves apart in front of our very eyes.

You guys are a real work of art, you know that?

And that’s enough of that.


The Boston TV Story

Sheila points to a good story on the recent Boston ‘terror’ alert, with bomb squad folks blowing up electronic boards with characters flipping the bird. She also has a good comment of her own:

Get a grip and admit you jumped straight to the doomsday scenario without investigating more plausible explanations. It’s not the kids’ fault that Boston — alone — spent $750,000 to defuse cartoon characters that had been decorating ten cities for three weeks.

I’m with the young people on this one. Boston acted like an ass. I liked Portland, Oregon’s take on the boards: the city checked them out, determined they weren’t harmful, and then left them alone if they weren’t on municipal property.


Ameren Change of Venue

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Ameren has filed a change of venue in the state lawsuit regarding the Taum Sauk dam break. They want the case tried in Reynolds country, rather than St. Louis. The reasons are obvious: Reynolds County has developed an economic dependency on Ameren.

Despite the extensive natural resource and property damage caused by the Dec. 14, 2005, reservoir breach, Ameren would likely get a fair shake in Reynolds County, said District 1 County Commissioner Doug Warren.

“Other than maybe a handful of people, I think most of the people are behind Ameren in this county,” Warren said.

Ameren paid $732,710 in property taxes in Reynolds County in 2006, said County Assessor Rick Parker. Tax receipts from Ameren represented 62 percent of the tax base supporting the Lesterville school.

I think I have an idea who some of the ‘other than a handful of people’ might be, but perhaps the rest of the people of Reynold’s county need to be reminded of what could have happened if the lower dam hadn’t held: chances are support for a Lesterville school would have been moot.

This is one of the problems with school funding in this state. To provide a good, basic education, each school needs a minimum amount of money, but many rural areas don’t generate enough revenue to meet this minimum need. This puts these rural areas at the mercy of a company like Ameren; who, more and more, is coming across as a strongly manipulative corporate entity, well aware that it can pull chains in Reynolds but not here in St. Louis.

The dam break was an unprecedented act of corporate malfeasance. The company management was aware that the dam was operating in an unsafe manner; but they chose not to forgo the profits that would be lost in order to take the dam offline long enough to fix.

No one was killed, but that’s either because a miracle occurred or we had the most amazing luck: pick one.

What did happen is that something very special that belonged to the people of that area–to the people of the state–was forever destroyed. The replacement might be wonderful in itself, but it will never the same. The community will, also, never be the same.

Ameren is playing a ‘big city folk’ against ‘rural folk’ game, basically playing to the economic fears in that area. Unfortunately, our good governor and state legislature aids and abets this by playing their own games with school budgets.

I feel sorry for the folks in Reynolds County, but I also feel sorry for we in St. Louis, and Missourians in general: justice has been given a price tag by people smug in their assumptions of who will, or won’t, pay it.