Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dwolla is easier and cheaper than Paypal

I know many of my search engine optimization clients are interested in creating on line stores. Some of you might simply be interested in an easier and cheaper way to send money to family and friends than Paypal. Well, Dwolla is the answer. Any transaction under $10 is free, and any transaction over $10 is 25 cents. That's right. No matter how much money you move, the fee for moving it is a quarter.

So why wait? Sign up today and you and I will both get $10 in transaction fees!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ezra Klein Should Know Our Roads Are Killing People

Ezra Klein has a commendable piece on facts about guns and mass murders, but I'm shocked that he doesn't realize that we also have an epidemic of death in this country from poor road conditions. Here's Ezra:

If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.  
Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. “Too soon,” howl supporters of loose gun laws. But as others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t “too soon.” It’s much too late.

Actually, the American Society of Civil Engineers says roadway conditions are a significant factor in 1/3 of all traffic fatalities.

Americans spend 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic at a cost of $78.2 billion a year--$710 per motorist. Roadway conditions are a significant factor in about one-third of traffic fatalities. Poor road conditions cost U.S. motorists $67 billion a year in repairs and operating costs--$333 per motorist; 33% of America's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 36% of the nation's major urban highways are congested. The current spending level of $70.3 billion for highway capital improvements is well below the estimated $186 billion needed annually to substantially improve the nation's highways.

US traffic fatalities average over 30,000 per year, so we have over 10,000 deaths due to road conditions, and many billions of dollars wasted, every year. Seems like we learned to ignore our deadly infrastructure and our epidemic of gun violence. Maybe Americans are ignoring all kinds of things that are literally killing people? Pollution, Climate Change, Budget Cuts, Inadequate Health Care, Wars...

If terrorists were killing 10,000 Americans every year, I wonder how much we'd spend on war and security? The ASCE says we need to spend $2.2 trillion over the next five years to fix our crumbling infrastructure and make ourselves safer, more productive, and more competitive. So, a little over $400 billion a year (which we can borrow at negative interest and buy cheap materials with) seems like a real bargain.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Nectar Hills Designs on Etsy

Amazing scottish highlander skull.

Our friends at Nectar Hills Farm have started an Etsy store: Nectar Hills Farm Designs. The store features handmade sheep skin pillows, handbags, and hats, plus this amazing Scottish highlander cow skull.

This is a great way to shop for gifts that will help support our local organic farmers!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Dave Brubeck Changed the World of Jazz

One of Dad's favorite CDs : Jazz at Oberlin - Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond,  Ron Crotty
My Dad taught me that Dave Brubeck changed the way the world thought about Jazz. Mr. Brubeck, who died today, one day short of his 92nd birthday, recorded an album, Jazz at Oberlin, that literally changed the way the world thought about, and listened to, Jazz.

From Wikipedia:
The concert is credited with making jazz a legitimate field of musical study at Oberlin, but it and the album did much more that. The album is further credited with initiating making jazz a subject of serious intellectual attention in a listening-centric environment; Wendell Logan, the chair of Oberlin's Jazz Studies Department, described it as "the watershed event that signaled the change of performance space for jazz from the nightclub to the concert hall". 
In addition, it was one of the early works in the cool jazz stream of jazz; The Guardian's John Fordham wrote that "indicated new directions for jazz that didn't slavishly mirror bebop, and even hinted at free-jazz piano techniques still years away from realisation"; he further observed that it "marked Brubeck's eager adoption by America's (predominantly white) youth - a welcome that soon extended around the world ... for a rhythmically intricate instrumental jazz". 
Just listening to the album now takes me back to my youth, when I would listen to Dad play it--loud, so loud that you could hear it up the hill behind the house, all the way up to the shed (which he later tore down and put a hot tub on the slab), all the way up to the Kumquat tree, where I would sit on a limb and listen while looking at the view of the San Fernando Valley.

Of course, I was just one of many kids who's Dad taught him about Brubeck. Brubeck inspired many generations of musicians. While I tend more toward John Prine than Jazz, the influence is there, and it makes up a part of who I am musically--from what I play to what I listen to to this day.