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May 31, 2006
Lindbergh by Scott Berg

I know it has been a while since my last book review, but it is basically because I haven't listened to any audio books recently, and also b/c I've been slowly reading a biography on Charles A. Lindbergh. To be honest, I didn't know too much about Lindbergh except that he was the first to fly across the Atlantic non-stop, and that he was a proponent of isolationism before World War II. As you might imagine, there is a lot more to this very complicated person. He apparantely was one of the sternest men around, and he liked to do things his way, unless of course you were an expert on the matter, at which he would anxiously listen and try to learn. A lot of this probably has to do with the fact that he became so popular so fast, that it caused him to try and withdraw from the world just to get some sense of privacy. The amount of dinners and banquets that he was subjected to after his flight were on the order that no man had ever been through before.

Anyways, he eventually met his wife Anne, and they had I believe 7 children, one of which was kidnapped and subsequentely killed, although accidentally. The kidnapping sparked one of the most fierce man-hunts in the history of the states, and eventually ended with the execution of a man who claimed to be innocent, despite having tons of evidence against him, including some of the ransom money paid out to try and retrieve the baby back.

Lindbergh and Anne spent many months travelling the world and exploring everything there was, despite the fact their children were left at home. Of course, this was more of Charles' doing as he wanted to explore, and what Charles wanted, he basically got. Charles spent much of his time after the flight and after marriage as a liason working with the airline companies tracking new routes, including being part of the first air mail route planning committee. Basically, everything revolved around aviation in the beginning.

Eventually, Charles became fixated on biology, specifically on how to create an apparatus that could keep organs alive. He and another scientist invented the first heart pump, a revolutionary invention as most trials to do such a thing at the time failed b/c infection would get into the heart and blood as the pump became contaminated. Not too bad for some guy who was only known for planes.

Prior to WWII, and despite visiting Germany, Charles was a strong proponent of America staying out of the war. He actually visited Germany prior to the start of the war, and was able to provide insightful feedback to the allies about their capabilities. A lot of times you hear just that..."Lindbergh the isolationist," but he actually became for the war as soon as America was attacked at Pearl Harbor. He recognized what had happened and what needed to be done, but his isolationist views are what most of know and hear about.

The book is very detailed about all aspects of Charles' life, and is part of the reason it took me a while to read. At times you feel like this should be an autobiography with as much detail is provided, but the author got most of it from Charles' record and his wife Anne, who sanctioned the author to write the book. Anne was a strong woman who had her own career as a best selling writer, and her only stipulation to the author was she be included in the book. Overall the book is well written, and if you want the inside scoop on one of America's most famous people, then set some time aside and start reading.

Posted by Don at 02:04 PM
May 28, 2006
Titanic: The Sequel

Everyone knows that in the movie industry, when you have a successful movie, you create a sequel. Well, what do you do if your movie was based on a true story about a boat that sank. You can't create a sequel about it right? Wrong...check it out....click the play button at the bottom left of the video screen.

Posted by Don at 09:24 AM
May 24, 2006
Cool nightclub tables

When you go to a Vegas nightclub, much like a New York or Berlin club, you expect the hippest and coolest layout in the world. Of course the drinks are going to be overpriced, but you are paying for atmosphere right. Well, this Vegas nightclub has outdone itself with the use of some cool interactive video/photo table tops. Check it out here:

Tabu Ultra Lounge at the Las Vegas MGM Grand

Posted by Don at 12:07 PM
Making money selling music without DRM: the rise of eMusic

Way back in the day I left the humble security of a large corporation to go to an up and coming startup named IUMA, which was a subsidiary of eMusic. Well, since that time, IUMA is no longer around, and eMusic has been scraping to stay alive. Apparantely, they are back with a vengeance though with a new business model and are now the "...#2 retailer of downloadable music behind the iTunes Music Store." Below is an article about their rise and fall and rise again, and how they are letting users download music that is not protected with DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions, ie. you can put them on any music player you want. They mainly sell independent music, but it's still impressive that they are doing so well. Of course, you are going to say I should have stayed with them, but they are now a private company (used to be about $2 on the Nasdaq when I joined), and have relocated their headquarters to NYC, so I don't think I would have hung on anyways. :)

Making money selling music without DRM: the rise of eMusic

Posted by Don at 12:04 PM
May 22, 2006
Sadness at Preakness

I remember talking to my dad Saturday morning and him asking if I was going to watch the Preakness horse race that afternoon, and I simply responded that I wasn't too into it, so maybe. Well, since then I have become engrossed in it. A little background:

In horse racing, their are three main races every year, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont. These races are normally about 2-3 weeks apart, and are for horses that are 3 years old. If you are able to win all three, you have won what is called the "triple crown." To give you an idea how difficult it is to do this, there have only been 11 Triple Crown winners since 1919, the last one coming way back in 1978.

A couple weeks ago an undefeated horse named Barbaro ran away with the Kentucky Derby (see picture above), and was the odds on favorite to win the Preakness at 3-5 odds. Everyone thought this may be the year as this horse was just plain awesome. Anyways, I happened to click over to the race just as it was about to begin, and saw Barbaro jump the gun, ie. jump out of the gates too soon and have to be put back in. So, now the stage is set to watch this horse run away with the 2nd of the Triple Crown races. The gates open, and all the horses take off. Normally the horses jockey for position, then settle into a groove for most of the race, and then have a huge final spurt at the end. Well, as they were jockeying for position, Barbaro mis-stepped severely with his back right leg and immediately started to limp. Well, the TV crew immediately picked up on this, as did the jockey, the only problem was the TV crew had to continue to follow the horse race while the jockey tried desparately to halt Barbaro so he wouldn't injure himself anymore. Needless to say, I, as well as the rest of the world, sat there having to watch a race I didn't care about instead of seeing what was going on with this horse that had just become injured. As most of you know, if a horse breaks his leg, odds are they have put them to sleep because a horse is not able to survive on three legs b/c of their weight and possibility of disease.

So, here I am, feeling a ton of emotions for a horse that 5 minutes prior I didn't have a care in the world for. Obviously the horse was taken immediately into physical care for X-Rays and to be sedated. Crazy thing was, they said they had to first try and calm the horse down before giving it a sedative as a horse still wants to race despite being injured, hence why the Jockey has to literally stop the horse. The reason being, I assume, is because the horse has been training its whole life to race, and has been prepared for the last couple of weeks to race, so it wants to release all that energy and win, just like he has been trained to do. Anyways, the X-rays revealed 3 broken bones, above and below the ankle, which meant obvious surgery. On Sunday, they performed surgery on Barbaro inserting 20+ screws along with metal plates to try and stabilize his ankle/leg. The good news is ... 1) he survived the surgery 2) he looked and acted fine afterwards, even slightly jogging back to his stall and, 3) he still has a chance to live. The doctor says he still has a 50-50 chance of survival, but things are looking good so far. On the right is a picture of Barbaro's ankle after surgery, and on the bottom is a picture of him after surgery with his cast on.

Posted by Don at 10:25 AM
May 17, 2006
Let's go Heat

I don't remember the last time I watched so much NBA basketball. Of course, this could be due to the fact that I lived in Deutschland for a few years, but either way, I am quite enjoying it. I usually watch the games that are on the same night as the Miami Heat, but the other ones are good also. So, just to update all you non-NBA people out there, the Heat have advanced to the Eastern conference finals to face either Detroit, who they lost to last year in the playoffs, or the Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James. Either way, with the victory last night, they are going to get a couple extra days of rest, which I'm hoping propels through to the NBA Finals. :)

And just to add to this, the Suns vs. Clippers game last night was unbelievable! I just got done watching the end of it today (gotta love Tivo), and with 2OTs I was just glad I set it to record and extra 1.5 hours so that I didn't miss it. I think I may have to set it to 3+ hours over the normal time since last nights game almost ran over (10 minutes to spare). Gotta love the NBA Playoffs.

Posted by Don at 01:33 PM
Evolution of Dance

This is a funny and great video on the history of dance. About 6 minutes long, but well worth it.

Posted by Don at 10:54 AM
May 15, 2006
Zero Energy Home (ZEH)

You've heard about the "demo" homes that produce as much energy as they consume, but they cost a ton of money and are really just a pipe dream. Well, someone built a $200,000 ZEH house. Grant it, that is Oklahoma pricing, but good to see it is viable.

I think the best thing to come out of this is a water heater without a tank that instantly heats up the water. Now that would be nice, especially as I remember the days of having to turn on the "booster" about 30 minutes before you wanted to take a shower b/c it hadn't been sunny enough to heat up the tank.

Zero Energy Home Article

Posted by Don at 01:49 PM
Mother's Day Weekend

In case you didn't know, this past weekend was Mother's Day weekend, which means either your wife or mom is going to be very upset if they didn't get a card from you. Anyways, a family day means a trip to Modesto for Barbie and I. Nothing too special to report, other than there were a lot of happy moms yesterday.

Posted by Don at 08:45 AM
May 09, 2006
Being smart is not only requirement for graduating at MIT

Apparantely, students at MIT have to be able to swim 100 yards without drowning or they can't graduate. This a great quote about those who don't like it...
Much to Yeh's chagrin, MIT has stayed the course. Carrie Moore, director of physical education at MIT, calls it ''a critical survival skill that everyone should have."

And for students who are scared of the water?

''This is a great opportunity for them to get over it," Moore said.

Time to Sink or Graduate

Posted by Don at 01:01 PM
FedEx arrivals during Thunderstorms

This is pretty funny and cool all at the same time...

Time lapse radar track of FedEx aircraft arriving into the Memphis hub during area thunderstorms.

Avoiding the Storm

Posted by Don at 12:23 PM
Lighting up with young kids in vehicle banned under bill

OK...this is just a great law that was recently passed in Arkansas of all places. I'm thinking it won't be long before it goes national though.

Smoking with kids in car banned

Posted by Don at 12:18 PM
Researchers Say They Can Cure Cancer In Mice

Looks like we are getting closer to a cure, although it is probably a long way off.

Cancer removed in Mice

Posted by Don at 08:35 AM