hilarious graphic design

I love the choice this fundraising email gave me:

The large number fonts/sizes, the question mark, the way they try to make the negative option not as attractive, but still classy... it's all there.

I chose the red pill. It seems that everyone who voted for Obama has their own very important issue that we all need to pay attention to right now. For me, if we get a real public option, it will all have been worth it.

java hibernate error reminder

Thanks dude.

org.hibernate.PropertyAccessException: could not get a field value by reflection getter of com.mypackage.MyEntity.entityId

There are reports that messages of this sort were due to bugs in one or more Hibernate releases. But this is also a legitimate error.

I wasted a lot of time before it hit me.


This is a sneaky one because when the database is laid out, you think in terms of foreign keys. But in ORM, you don’t see those keys directly - they translate to object references. So the original version was attempting to compare an object to the key of the object instead of an instance of the object.

now legal to catch rainwater

I only heard about this craziness a couple of months ago, I'm glad to see that common sense is beginning to prevail.
DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West.

Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago.
Now two new laws in Colorado will allow many people to collect rainwater legally. The laws are the latest crack in the rainwater edifice, as other states, driven by population growth, drought, or declining groundwater in their aquifers, have already opened the skies or begun actively encouraging people to collect.

“I was so willing to go to jail for catching water on my roof and watering my garden,” said Tom Bartels, a video producer here in southwestern Colorado, who has been illegally watering his vegetables and fruit trees from tanks attached to his gutters. “But now I’m not a criminal.”

kevin kelly and the amish

Kevin Kelly is one of the founders of Wired magazine, and he has some interesting things to say about the amish and minimalist living, why the Amish are happy and fulfilled, but why their way of constraining themselves is ultimately selfish, even if it works for them as individuals and communities--and ultimately unsustainable.
....In the late 1960s some million self-described hippies stampeded to small farms and make-shift communes to live simply, not too different from the Amish. I was part of that movement....In tens of thousands of experiments in rural America, we jettisoned the technology of the modern world (because it seemed to crush individualism) and tried to rebuild a new world....Our discoveries paralleled what the Amish knew -- that this simplicity worked best in community, that the solution wasn't no-technology but some technology, and what we then called appropriate technology. This day-glo, deliberate, conscious engagement with appropriate technology was deeply satisfying for a while.

But only for a while....One-by-one they left their domes for suburban garages and lofts, and much to our collective astonishment, transformed their small-is-beautiful skills into small-is-startup entrepreneurs....barefoot to billionaire, a la Steve Jobs.

....In retrospect we might say the hippies left for the same reason Thoreau left his Walden; they came and then left to experience life to its fullest....In the past decade a new generation of minimites has arisen, and they are now urban homesteadin....They are trying to have both, the Amish satisfaction of intense mutual aid and hand labor, and the ever cascading choices of a city. [ed-- yes we are.]

....I remain fascinated and deeply impressed by Leon and Berry, and Brende and the Old Order Plain Folk communities. I am impressed that their tightly bound mutual support can reliably resist the perennial lure of modernity. That's an amazing testimony because so few other cultures can boast that.

....But there is one aspect of the Amish, and the minimites, and the small-is-beautiful hippies at their heyday, that is selfish. The "good" they wish their minimal technology to achieve is primarily the fulfillment of a fixed nature. The human that is satisfied by this agricultural goodness is an unchanging human. For the Amish, one's fulfillment must swell inside the traditional confine of a farmer, tradesman, or housewife*. For minimites and hippies, fulfillment must rise within the confine of the natural unhampered by artificial aids.

....For Berry technology peaked in 1940, about the moment when all these farm implements were as good as they got....1940 cannot be the end of technological perfection for human fulfillment simply because human nature is not at its end.

We have domesticated our humanity as much as we have domesticated our horses. Our human nature is a malleable crop that we planed 50,000 years ago, and continue to garden even today. The field of our nature has never been static. We know that genetically our bodies are changing faster now than at any time in the past million years. Our minds are being rewired by our culture. With no exaggeration, and no metaphor, we are not the same people who first started to plow 10,000 years ago. The snug interlocking system of horse and buggy, wood fire cooking, compost gardening, and minimal industry may be perfectly fit for a human nature — of an ancient agrarian epoch. I call this devotion to a traditional being "selfish" because it ignores the way in which our nature — our wants, desires, fears, primeval instincts, and loftiest aspirations — are being recast by ourselves, by our inventions, and it excludes the needs of our new natures.

....Perhaps someday someone will invent a tool that is made just for your special combination of hidden talents. Or perhaps you will make your own tool. Most importantly, and unlike the Amish and minimites, you may invent a tool which will help unleash the fullest of someone else. Our call is not only to discover our fullest selves in the technium, but to expand the possibilities for others. We have a moral obligation to increase the amount of technology in the world in order to increase the number of possibilities for the most people. Greater technology will selfishly unleash us, but it will also unselfishly unleash others, our children and all to come.
For myself, I do seek a middle way. Not quite, as Kevin says, the minimum amount of technology, but just a satisfying compromise. I don't want to be a farmer, but I want to work with my hands, and grow some of my own food. I want to count farming as a hobby. And then I want to play some videogames. Finding fulfillment within the realm of our constructed society will not be simple; it took out ancestors hundreds of generations to more-or-less figure it out in an agrarian context. But there's a lot of good work to be done here, and I'm excited to be a part of it.

*Still the number one reason to not be Amish.

the essential problem with java

First, I want to say that eclipse is WAY better in Java than it is in ActionScript. It does a lot of nice stuff for you. I still hate it.

The essential problem with Java is it's foundational principle, which is:

"The programmer is dumb and must be prevented from doing unsafe things."

The thing is, the types of problems we have to solve don't really change; in C++ or C# or AS3 you can just say, "trust me, I'm actually smart," and the language will say "ok, I guess" and get out of your way and let you do whatever moderately (or grossly) unsafe thing you want. In Java the language says instead, "no I don't think you are."

Then you have to write twice as much code because you don't have function pointers. So where you could have had two classes instead you have 5, and sure, you never did anything unsafe, but doubling your line count and file count gives you that many more opportunities to slip up.

To balance this out, Java IDEs like eclipse have super-good code-time auto-compilation and automatic error and warning resolution, which is awesome, but I can't shake the feeling that it's really all there to make some of these language defects livable.

See.... C# is just as safe as Java... it manages garbage collection and the rest of it, it's very pleasant, but in C# if you need to do something, you CAN. You may have to be very explicit about it, but there's a psychic atmosphere of the language trying hard to accomodate you. I just have never gotten that feeling from java. The psychic atmosphere of java is like being in a dusty lecture hall with a bunch of 60 year old computer science professors who are all bickering amongst themselves, and you raise your hand to ask a question and they just ignore you, or when they notice you, talk down to you because you're an implementor, not an information scientist.

Yay Java!

second thoughts and also more currency talk

Man, shipping containers are probably a terrible choice for heritage-worthy construction... they're gonna rust out and be hard to insulate and generally unpleasant over the course of 50 years. For temporary they're very exciting, but plan to replace them with concrete.

Also, this is an interesting interview with Douglas Rushkoff about his currency and modern life and whatnot. Kinda long, but full of big ideas.

the new plan

Today's lunch discussion topic, or how to get ocean plus mountains in 5 years:

1. Buy an acre of land in Topanga, ~400k.
2. Keep working full time.
3. Buy a used trailer or mobile home and park it on the land to live in for steps 4 through 8
4. Start the process of getting a Septic tank, etc., put in. May take 1-2 years.
5. Buy a bunch of shipping containers ($1500 each), enough to give you 2-3 thousand sqaure feet.
6. Dig into your hillside and use the shipping containers to terrace your land, stacking multiple containers on top of eachother in a staggered pattern.
7. On top of (one of?) your shipping containers goes the aquaponics portable farm, the fish tank goes inside.
8. Weld the shipping contianers together, insulate them, and make them livable.
9. Move in permanently and sell the trailer.
10. Add modular components as needed.

It's all coming together.


I'm not really this brave yet.

connecting people

The auto-tuning the news guys people need a weekly gig on the daily show. amiright? How much do you think I would have to pay these guys to get all my news delivered this way?

stuffing, an experiment

Yesterday we tried out an idea that we've been talking about for a long time:

cheese stuffed
olive stuffed
mushroom stuffed
bell peppers, with cheese.

We took the mushroom stems and pepper tops, chopped em up, and sauteed them withworcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and put that on top, filled in with white wine, and sprinkled with the final layer of cheese. Baked for about 45 minutes at 325 or so.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures, but it was described by the party as "awesome," and was really not that hard to make, since the olives come pre-stuffed and all. Really just assemble and stick in the oven.

aquaponics = want

This is how the castle will grow much of its food:
A super-intensive low footprint portable farm, with no soil, no chemicals, low water requirements, and an aquarium attached that you fish out of too. Now of course it costs quite a bit to buy the starter kit from these guys, $7500 for the basic kit, but I think you could do it yourself for about 2-3k, even with high quality pumps (never skimp on pumps!) and a few mistakes along the way. You'd make your money back in two or three years, pretty easily.

I want to figure out a way to add a saltwater tank to the mix... perhaps we can grow seeweed and use it to feed the freshwater fish or something, anyway 'cause then we could have that tank of jellyfish in the castle and it would also serve a purpose in our food cycle.

Which by they way that's the whole trick of aquaponics: it's a circle, not a chain. It doesn't just go one way. Lawn care in America really freaks me out when I think about it: we plant this crop, grass, in the ground, and we water it and fertilize it, so it grows, and then we cut it, and throw away the clippings, until we've depleted the soil so badly that we have to fertilize it again.... But the grass is a really good sport about all this! It just keeps growing! It just grows back again and again and again. When you think about how unconnected lawns are to the natural order, to the circle, it's kindof mind boggling that it's so mainstream, and that it works as well as it does.

But that's the beauty of plants, after all. "Turning light into food for over 2 billion years," as they say. Erg, I gotta get my store back up....

wide eyed clean faced optimism

Every so often I'm struck by the idea that our constructed environment is critically incomplete. There's just so much work to be done, even aside from inventing new things, in just refining what we already have.

The infrastructure of our body politic is generally functional, but what I'm talking about is a layer of polish, or many layers of polish, that will make it beautiful as well.

Every bare piece of concrete along the freeway needs a fresco, every bare rooftop needs a garden, every web page needs another layer of smartness and connectedness, every mobile phone needs to be as capable as an iPhone, and then we need to improve the software further to make it more respectful and responsive to us as human beings... Every intersection needs a smart traffic light, and then we need to improve ALL of the traffic light algorithms together, so that we sense approaching cars and eliminate red lights almost entirely...

We can see all the work that needs to be done just by opening our eyes and looking around, and sometimes it staggers me that, with everything that we've done so far, we've only scratched the surface, we've only begun to learn and build, and lay the foundation of the way our grandchildren will live. What a great time to be alive.


Exciting times. Annie and I are prequalified for a home loan. We're not in a super-hurry, but we've started looking, mostly in the South Bay.

Here's the thing: as soon as you have a number in hand, the first thing you do is start looking to see what you can get for it. The next thing you do --if you're me-- is see what you could get if you could scrape together just a bit more.

Anyone want to go in on this house? 4 bedroom, big lot, great neighborhood, close to the freeway, but not too close...

Heh, failing that, there are a bunch of houses around that actually are in our price range, and it's kindof exciting. I'm angling for the fixer-uppers, with lots of land and lots of bedrooms (for roommates to help with the mortgage). With our price range, and where we'd like to live, we're likely going to have to make a couple of compromises. But that's ok! The idea is that this is just a starter house. The castle will come later.

more tharp

For some reason I find this guy fascinating. He doesn't have a wikipedia page, but here's some info I found on a geneology forum:
Hale Dixon Tharp was born in Ohio on July 8, 1835. He was the son of Nathaniel Tharp and Lucinda Zane. Came to CA about 1852 during the gold area. There me met and married a widow, Mrs. Edward J. Swanson (Chloe Ann Smith) and her four sons. They married in El Dorado County on December 5, 1853 and lived in Placerville (Hangtown) for a short period of time. They moved to Tulare County, CA into the Sierra-Nevada foothills east of Visalia about 1857. They settled on the confluence of Wild Horse Creek and the Kaweah River. This area was a popular spot for Indians and Hale Tharp became friends with the locals. It is said that he owned more horses than cattle and due to the lack of adequate pasture for his animals, he was told by the local Indian Chief that he would take him into the mountains to the east and show him places where his animals could find abundant feed and water during the hot dry summer months.

The Indian Chief took Hale Tharp up into the mountains as promised and it was there that he found the groves of giant Sequoia Trees. It is thought that he was the first white man to see these trees. He brought his animals up for summer pasture and while there, he found a fallen Sequoia log that was hollow and big enough for him to live in. This hollow log is still there and is an attraction within the Sequoia National Park ... it is today known as "Tharp's Cabin."

Hale Tharp is also known to have given the name to another Tulare County landmark, Hospital Rock on the Kaweah River. His stepson, Geroge Swanson named a large outcropping of rocks within the Park ... it is called Morro Rock.

Because of his early experiences and knowledge of the "high country", he was often consulted by visitors such as John Muir who later helped establish Sequoia National Park.

Hale Tharp died in Visalia, CA on November 28, 1912. His ranch now lies under the waters of Lake Kaweah but in late summer as the waters are drained for irrigation, the land resurfaces and can be seen.

I am not familar with the book that you mention but will try to find it to add to what little I know about this man and his family. My connection is through George W. Swanson, stepson of Hale Tharp.
So he did marry, probably didn't have any children, liked to hang out with the natives, and spent every summer living in a log. Now all I can think of is the Lorax wearing a cowboy hat.

late update, sequoia national park

As mentioned elsewhere, we visited Sequoia the weekend before last. I have pictures to prove it. Here are my favorites:

First some obligatory giant trees:
A bear and a deer in the same shot:
John Muir called this "a noble den."
An interior shot of Hale D. Tharp's summer home:

So yeah in summary that place is pretty crazy!

point counterpoint

a response to the previous.

uncomfortable money talk

I cringe to read this list:

25 Traits Of The Not So Well To Do

I currently count myself as having about 5 of these:

3) Eating out often
9) Overweight/No Exercise
17) Doesn’t budget
18) Couldn’t tell you their monthly expenses
23) Quick to pick up tab and tip

But I used to have many more, about 14 or 15. I'm proud of my progress, but temptation is always there... especially with gadgets!

office coffee goal

Our office coffee isn't terrible, but it is inconsistent. We have two machines, a 12 cup brewer and a 40 cup brewer. The 12 cup is basically fast enough, but totally inadequate for our 30 person office. the 40 cup is about the right size, but takes about 30 minutes to get warm.

Over at K2 they had one of these Starbucks Interactive Cup Brewer things, and I swear to god that machine single-handedly raised the morale of the entire company. There was a palpable feeling of well-being and appreciation for our hard work around that kitchen. I am going to try to influence my company into getting one.

some positive stories

I really got drawn into the world of the American Chestnut Foundation today. Start here:

Also these crime statistics are startling, in a good way!

Also Time Magazine: scare mongering through the ages. It's kindof funny what they'll do to sell a magazine.

my bug let me tell you about it!


SWF Document class constructor does not preserve type information

It's amazing! When you load a swf that has complex type information, it works fine. When you use the document class constructor to make a copy of the swf content, it appears to work, it creates all the sub-properties, but any class information is lost! It's fantastiacally bizarre, and it also breaks the back of the loading manager I've been working on. Now we fall back on plan B, reloading the whole SWF every time we need a fresh copy. Disappointing.

information nutrition

We have access to a lot of information these days, way more than our ancestors. Our minds may not be well-suited, evolutionarily, to this new environment.

When food shortages in the united states vanished, and when the food industry figured out what the human body craves (fat, sugar, salt), obesity has become a problem. As our ability to access and distribute information increases, and as we get better at finding and creating the media we crave (OMG, LOL, H4WT) , depression, anxiety, and hopelessness are potential results.

I would never suggest that we prevent people from distributing or accessing consumer media -- McDonald's should not be outlawed. Having too much food is a much better problem than having too little. But I'd like to see a rating system for the nutritional value of consumer media. Have you had your recommended daily value of fear? Inspiration? Wonder, Science, Spiritualism? Funny?

Does anyone know of an existing rubric or set of metrics for measuring the content of media? Does anyone know of research that establishes the mid- or long-term effects of super-saturating a human mind with a certain cognitive aspect?

Handling our new media landscape, culturally, is a problem that we're going to have to address pretty soon, implicitly or explicitly. I think most people will be fine just by managing their own consumption (see: food), but some research might not be unwarranted. And also I think that seeing mental nutrition labels at the top of every webpage would be hilarious.

Oh I'm pretty sure I have an unlimited supply of cheap futurism.

debt free

I paid off my student loans, and my car loan (from my dad). I am now debt free. It is awesome.

I guess I'm saving up for a house now, which is simultaneously exciting and frightening. But I don't have another good idea for what to do with my money... most of my projects really start with having some space, some land... so seems like real estate is the way to go.

California is still way too expensive. What is the deal.

random error

just for my own reference.

Eclipse crashed and would not restart, even after a reboot. The log file showed a problem with the perforce plugin. This page was correct. Use eclipse.exe -data command line to launch into a non-broken workspace, uninstall perforce, switch back to target workspace, reinstall plugin.  WEIRD.

ALSO why does eclipse put plugin management under the help menu? That's dumb.