I received my Basic Keelboat certification last Friday! I still have a couple weekends in July before I earn the Basic Cruising certificate, but now I have a decent understanding of how to handle a sailboat.
The last few days were much better; we had bright sun and mild winds as opposed to clouds and whitecaps. We anchored for lunch at Treasure Island, then went out and practiced overboard recoveries.
In a look reminiscent of the Banyan Tree’s Floating Bedroom comes the TomaHouse. Featuring traditional Balinese design, this amazing structure can be erected in as little as four hours and disassembled in one. Conceived by Frank Thoma, these modular buildings can be extended up, down, or sideways as the terrain demands. Various insulation and structural enhancement kits allow placement in most any clime.
(A more complete writeup, with pictures, is now available.)
There are a few news stories on the wire today about Robert Byrd becoming the longest-serving U.S. Senator. What grabbed my eye was this paragraph:
In many ways Byrd is out of synch with today’s political scene, quoting from the Bible and citing Roman history in his speeches. He carries a copy of the Constitution in his breast pocket.
-Andrew Taylor, AP
I have some words for Mr. Taylor, and they’re not exactly complimentary.
There’s a debate going on in Congress now, a debate over whether ISPs should be allowed to determine which content users can access. Already signs of the future are emerging, with some ISPs announcing plans to degrade or block access to competing content. Even fierce competitors in both business (e.g. Microsoft and Google) and politics (Christian Coalition, MoveOn.org) both agree that this is a clear threat to the Internet, and must be stopped.
I’m asking everyone to take a few minutes to call your representative in Congress (202.224.3121) and voice your support for Net Neutrality, especially the Markey Amendment. You can also read Google’s request for help, an op-ed in the Washington Post, or click the image for more ways to help.
The protections that guaranteed network neutrality have been law since the birth of the Internet â€” right up until last year, when the Federal Communications Commission eliminated the rules that kept cable and phone companies from discriminating against content providers. This triggered a wave of announcements from phone company chief executives that they plan to do exactly that.
– Lawrence Lessig
Stanford Law School
The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true. Let us protect the neutrality of the net.”
– Tim Berners-Lee
Inventor of the World Wide Web
For those paying attention, Ernst & Young published a report stating that China’s banks held up to $911 billion in nonperforming loans (NPLs). The official estimate is $164 billion. The Chinese banks, at least two of which are preparing for Hong Kong IPOs, reacted with expected anger, calling the figures “severely distorted”, “severely wrong”, and “absurd”. Shortly thereafter, Ernst and Young withdrew the report and apologized for its “erroneous” publication.