Insomnia Log

This is what keeps me awake at night???

Who needs sleep? (well you’re never gonna get it)
Who needs sleep? (tell me what’s that for)
Who needs sleep? (be happy with what you’re getting,
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the second world war)

-- words and music by Steven Page & Ed Robertson

Location: Boulder, Colorado, United States

Everything you need to know about me can be found in my posts

Monday, July 27, 2009

In Which I Get My Life Back

The Tour is over for another year. And it looks like the best three riders ended up on the podium, in the correct order. A few thoughts:

George Hincapie: I lost a bit of respect for George when he blamed the riders on the other teams for his failure to borrow the yellow jersey for a day. George, this is a competitive sport. You may be a great guy, but the other teams don't owe you anything. If you had ridden a bit faster, encouraged your breakaway to work together better, or stayed with the eventual stage winner, you might have gotten that jersey. It is poor sportsmanship to blame this on the other teams.

And then I gained back a bit of respect for George seeing him continue the race after injuring his collarbone, and race as hard as anybody and help get his team two more stage victories.

Jens Voight: Another very popular rider and elder spokesman of the sport. It was scary to see him go down so hard, and good to see his injuries were not nearly as bad as they could have been. The press reports said Jens crashed when he hit a bump in the road. However, I watched the crash in slow motion and I don't believe that. First, Jens had worked incredibly hard in the breakaway and then even more to help his team leader Andy Schleck. Then, on the descent, perhaps with just a tiny loss of concentration from exhaustion, he hit the center line paint and his tire lost its traction. He went down so hard there were sparks.

Alberto Contador: Clearly, Alberto deserved to win the Tour. Ho was faster than anybody else and climbed better as well. But his youthful exuberance caused him to ignore the goals of his team that didn't directly benefit him. It was so clear when he attacked and dropped Kloden, his own teammate, that he knew he'd made a bad mistake. He kept looking back hoping Andreas would get back on, and had a look in his eyes that said, "my bad". At least he seemed to learn, and on the climb to Mont Ventoux he was the best teammate he could be.

Something about Alberto reminds me of his teammate Lance Armstrong when he was that age. Lance wasn't successful until he had an entire team dedicated to his winning, and it looks like Alberto is likely to get the same thing next year.

Lance: He has finally proven he is human.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Snaps, crackles, pops and scrapes

Pops and scrapes. Did you ever wonder why it isn't "pops or scrapes?" It seems that we can't talk about one without the other. But they're really two different things, with different goals and different impacts.

City Council is looking at regulating these types of projects, and perhaps to disguise the odd pairing they named the initiative "compatible development."

Our neighborhood has witnessed both types of development.


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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You'd Cry Too

You'd cry too if Mom and Twin were on the other side of the fence and you couldn't figure out how to join them and there was a thunderstorm. Sad or funny? You decide.

Crybaby from Mike Ellis on Vimeo.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Global warming whodunit

After my recent column about Dr. Jim Hansen's global warming research, I received e-mails with dozens of references designed to convince me that anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW) is a hoax.

I'd seen many of the references before. They ranged from irrelevant to bad science. Some I honestly don't have the expertise to evaluate. But I owe it to my scientific background to evaluate the case with a skeptical eye.


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Friday, July 03, 2009

Strange Combinations

Last weekend I rode in the Bike MS fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It was a tough weekend, covering a total of 175 miles, and I raised over $500.

This got me thinking. What is the relationship between athletic events and charities, and why are they linked? It's not just the MS Society. Lots of bike rides, runs, walks, etc., are tied to fundraising efforts.

But there's nothing inherent with bike riding or any of these other activities that has anything to do with the causes they support. I would have been happy to ride 175 miles without the charity tie in. But they wouldn't let me ride without raising at least $300. I didn't have a problem doing it, as it is a good cause. I know people with MS, and anything I can do to help is worthwhile.

But I wonder about the people I asked for money. Did they contribute because they thought they were supporting me, even though I never even saw the money? Or would they have contributed anyway? Probably not. Something about me riding my bike 175 miles caused people I know to contribute $511 to a good cause, and I'm not sure what it was. I guess I have to go with guilt -- since I made a personal request it made it harder to say "no".

And that's what these charities are counting on: Someone like me to do their job of making people feel guilty enough to contribute money, in exchange for being able to participate in an athletic event.

This is kind of like the strange combination of health insurance and employment. If you think logically about it, it really doesn't make sense for people to get their health care through work.

I guess it probably started with companies trying to attract workers by offering something of value beyond wages. But pretty soon it became expected that they would provide this benefit to their employees. Employers have now gotten trapped in a cycle of increasing health care costs that are not directly related to doing business but which they can't cut back on without big ramifications. And employees are stuck with whatever insurance is (or isn't) provided by their employer, unable to afford their own insurance, and unable to leave a job if they have any significant health issue.

So, just like I have to suck up to everybody I know to guilt them into contributing to a worthy cause so I can participate in a bike ride, my employer has to provide insurance to all its employees so it can participate in the job market.

Kind of makes you want to scrap this system and just start over from scratch.

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