Altering Science

The LA Times is reporting on a survey from the union of concerned scientists that says U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings. The results of the survey suggest that many researchers with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife have seen conclusions reversed to weaken species protection and favor business interests.

It’s one thing to take scientific research and choose to ingore it; it’s a completely different thing to fake the science. It’s called lying. And as fond of calling the Bush administration Fascist, this really is a perfect example. But take it a step further; the Nazi party was famous for cooking “science” to champion its message. I don’t like Nazis.

Fat Tuesday

Last night we joined in our first fat tuesday party at a friends place in SE Portland. Besides the grand food, decor, and Hurricanes, the sponsor also put on a mini parade, which lasted for 1 block and consisted of 1 grand marshall (Derek), 1 float (Jim driving, April throwing beads), and one rear marshall (me, though rear marshall sounds dirty). Despite the briefness of the parade, we managed to piss off someone who evidently wanted to get home.

Fat Tuesday!

It was a fun time and my friends in the know helped me enough to dress in a way that while embarrassing me anywhere else, didn’t embarrass me at the party. Plus, the next morning, there was some king cake at work. Word on the street is the person who found the baby-jesus and didn’t fess up will have some serious ‘splainin’ to do.

MacMansions and Northwest Romantic Modernism

I can’t retrace the steps exactly, but I happened upon Robert Harrison Architects Northwest Romantic Modernims today and was quite pleased by it. We’re sort of relegated to purchasing a craftsman style bungalow, but I share the sentiments expressed. And I don’t see any reason why an old house cannot evolve. That’s part of the fun, right?

Google Maps – time to reconsider cartography

Google Maps

Google has announced their Google Maps Beta. Given the cool factor of their other tools I knew this was going to be big. So I tried it out. The sample queries they provide alone make the service much cooler than any of the competition. But I wanted to see what where I live looks via Google Maps. The results: Better start studying something besides cartography.

To start with – the maps are gorgeous. Drop shadows from the location callout, which also has options for setting this as a starting or ending point on a future query. The thumbtack isn’t that intrusive. The vectors are gorgeous – the weighting of the street volumes with colors, the labeling, the chocolate brown borders and the half-circle endpoints. And when you zoom out, the labels disappear cleanly. How am I supposed to compete with that?

The data that google uses appears to come from the same source as yahoo/mapquest (which I don’t like), and it displays it much more attractively. I had always had a preference for MapBlast who was then bought by Microsoft and turned into MapPoint, which I used up until this morning.

Oh – Google maps – since they get their data from the same place, also got the dead ends on my street wrong. Those aren’t through streets. Which is obvious just from the number of delivery-type vehicles that have to back up once they realize it too.

Portland Pub Buffer

I used 59 pubs (3 are really only fancy beer stores) to create a map of portland with 1/4 mile buffers to see what areas have appropriate access to a local. It appears that there is some severe disparity in many parts of of the city – or – the bars there are just lame. I need to make sure my pub set is good enough before my final project, but here’s the PDF if you’re curious. Warning, its ~1.5MB large

This is the first time I’ve used ArcMap 9 to create any output, and I was doing it over a 16 color Remote Desktop connection and it was too slow to label and simplify, so its nothing special yet. So no making fun. I’ll fix that later when I’ve updated the pub list to fix any discrepancies.

Remote Desktop is Faster

Its quite sad that running Remote Desktop to connect to a computer that has ArcGIS 9 is still much faster and bearable than working on my own computer with ArcView 3.0a for Mac. In fact, just loading the streets layer in ArcView 3.0a crashed the program and Classic (OS 9), which is why I tried Remote Desktop instead.

I’m 96% done converting street addresses of pubs to physical locations in a GIS for my project. ArcMap 9 actually tries to rectify them for you, and got 86% of the addresses right on the first pass – which is nice when the data set is 60 entities.

Neighborhood walk

Michelle, Barley and I walked around the Richmond neighborhood today for some variety. The walk was less for Barley and more for our enjoyment and education as its one of the areas we think we could someday afford to live. The neighborhood seemed really like a nice fit, and having Hedge House to the south, Bagdad Theater, Bridgeport Ale House, and Horse Brass to the north make it seem all the better. Anyway, that’s a ways off, so we just had lunch at Hedge House with Barley then came home.

Vortex I Rock Concert

My dad asked if I’d heard about the Oregon State sponsored Vortex I Rock Concert back in 1970. I had not so I read a little and asked a few of the old AV types at work about it. The reason for the event is apparently to draw hippies away from Portland while Nixon was in town.

One of the older AV types said it was more proof that then Governor Tom McCall was the last good Republican, though admitted that he and his family were probably at church praying for said hippies.

The whole thing is rather bizarre and mysterious (especially given its proximity to Altamont in California) and I can’t tell if it was a creative solution by a creative and insightful governor, or a seedy distraction.

Aspiring Sociopath

I was listening to Atmosphere’s Aspiring Sociopath in the car on the way to work:

Talk radio gets a lot of play in his vehicle
It teaches him topics to dicuss with real people
So when he stops to get gas or hit that coffee shop
His neurotic ass can act like he knows a whole lot
Pour some sugar on me, my counterfeit personality-a

It’s funny because it’s true.

Atmosphere is a gringo – which brings a refreshing absence of the N-word to his lyrics. Even though the content may be more caustic, it doesn’t grate the ears and alarm passers by as much as Busta Rhymes’ Gimme Some More for example, which peppers the otherwise awesome song with the un-utterable word. That sample, by the way, is from Hitchcock’s film Psycho. I heard it in context over the PA at Value Village last Halloween.