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Culture in The Can, 10 May 2007
I have a couple fun things I do on a regular basis. Things that make me feel good because I'm making others feel good or learn something new. I love sharing knowledge and good fortune.

The first is just silly. When I'm walking somewhere and realize I have a penny in my pocket, I'll drop it. I imagine making someone's day when they find their "lucky penny" and spend the rest of their day on a semi-high.

The second thing I do is not as silly. In a given day, I'll read a good 100-200 RSS posts per day in Google Reader. When I find something that I believe others would benefit by, I hit the Share button which will list it in the list to the left of this article, but when I find one that is exceptionally interesting, and typically more than one page, I'll print it as well. Why? Well I am a news "snacker". I read the headlines, the occasional text, and the rare full article. In the case of a long article that I deem readable, if I think it is also worth sharing, it gets my "mid-morning" print. I then take it to the restroom and read it while...well, you get the picture. The fun part of this practice is that when I'm done, I fold it and leave it on the rail for someone else to read. The articles are typically about the green lifestyle or maybe arts or culture, but I can imagine the few people during the day that wait until after 10-ish to go to the restroom to see if the phantom "article folder" has left them something interesting to read. Today's article: Banksy Was Hear from the New Yorker.

In my defense, because I'm expecting I'll need it:
  1. I realize I'm using up a piece of paper here. From an ecoist's point of view though, it is a recycled piece of paper and I do configure all my printers to print double sided as to not waste additional sheets, AND a good portion of the articles I leave are about living green so this little piece of paper may be saving thousands of pounds of carbon a year as a result of my readers learning a thing or two during their number two.
  2. I am using the handicapped stall, hence the rail. Well, for what it's worth, there are no handicapped folks in my building, and should there be a visitor that wheels his way to my stall, I would hope he enjoys my article.

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Ubuntu - No More Tech Support, 07 May 2007
After years of removing viruses and pop ups and ad-ware from my kid's computers, I finally tried an experiment, which led to another experiment. Like most of us, I have old computers in storage. In my case, I have 3 or 4 just stacked up. Not even real old, mind you, but in the 700 Mhz - 1Ghz range...decent little boxes. So after reading about Ubuntu for months on LifeHacker, one of my favorite blogs, I decided to give it a shot. The new release was expected out any day, so I hooked up a box and built a boot disk.

All I can say is holly crap! 15 minutes later it was up and running, it found all device drivers necessary to operate including the wireless card. I called over my 13 year old, Melissa, and showed her. She said "cool".

I tinkered with it for a day or so to get comfortable and then decided to start building another super quiet box to use as a DVR with MythTV. Once I gave up the first box and set it up in the corner of the kitchen, it became public use to Linda and the kids. I didn't train any of them, I wanted to see who, if any, were curious enough to use it. All I told them was their login credentials.

Last night, as I'm cooking, I look over and Melissa is sitting there browsing with Firefox, IMing her friends with GAIM and working on homework with OpenOffice. No assistance from anyone. Linux at 13! Watch out Bill, the moon logo above is for you.

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4 Final Tables In A Row, 05 May 2007
Well, I'm batting 1000 as it pertains to visits. I've visited Seabrook 4 times in two months and made 4 final tables. Three cashes, two of which were chopped 1st and 2nd place. There were two other entries in the 4 visits that resulted in early exits, but thus far, I have $450 in entry fees, $2800 in cashes (after tips) for a nice 500% return.

Linda wasn't arriving from her business trip until midnight, and the kids were out, so tonight I played the $100 NL at 7:00, resulting in the second chopped 1st and 2nd mentioned above, and in two consecutive days, no doubt.

The most memorable hand was when the final table just started. I raised preflop in middle position with Ac Jc and button calls. The flop hits Jd 4c 8c. I lead off with a pot sized bet, which I'm sure was anticipated. I get a smooth call. The turn is the Tc. What would he expect me to do to do? If I had the flush, he would expect a check, or a value bet to string him along. If I had J or T, he would want me to keep firing. If I had a set, I'm most likely all-in right here, or even preflop, so he probably rules that out. I decide to make the pot sized bet again. He comes over the top with at least 2x the pot. I go into a small tank, then call. The river is a dream card, the Qc. This might have given him a one card flush, or a straight, or two pair, who knows. All I know is I still have the nuts and he might be strong. I have 8k left in chips. The pot's got to have about 16k or so. He's got a bit more than me. I make one of those "stab at the pot" bets of 4k. He thinks, declares, "We're probably both pot-committed," and I take a significant chip lead as he shows me Kc Jd.

I have to say, I like his parting play on words. "We're probably both pot-committed," is both an excuse for reading me as nut flush and having to call as well as a tease to get me to call if I'm weak. I'll give him that.

Well, kids in bed. Linda's safely back from her trip. I don't know when I'll be back. All the conditions have to be aligned. Linda has to have plans, the kids have to be occupied, and I have to be thinking about a game. Well, two out of those three have to be right. I'm always thinking about a game.

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Big Mike's Still Got It, 04 May 2007
The past two years have been interesting as it pertains to poker. My decision to get a divorce resulted in my having to focus on a steady income and taking care of my kids, which is my highest priority. Let's face it, poker can provide a good income, but the variance that all poker players live through is not conducive to taking care of a family. I also found a wonderful woman, Linda, and her addition to my life has "balanced" it out completely. Funny thing is, it was time more than money that kept me from playing poker. I wanted to spend quality time with Linda and my kids, so the long hours, late nights and travel that goes along with tournament poker just couldn't coincide with this point in my life.

In the past two years, I've played less poker than I ever have. Do I miss it? Of course I do. I love the game. Intellectually, financially, and socially, poker is great. That said, it was time for some choices. Will I ever go back to playing regularly again? Possibly. Most likely, after the kids are grown up and about, I may fit it into my schedule again. Until then, I will treat it as an occasional past time. One that I love, and frankly, one that I am very good at.

As a beginning to my occasional past time, for the first time in over a year, I played three tournaments at Seabrook Dog Track recently. Two a few weeks ago, both final tables, only one cash though. Last night was the $30 rebuy they run at 8:00 PM. After losing most of my chips to a 3 outer AK on the river, and being down to one small blind when we were at two tables, I came back from the brink to chop first and second place for $1200 each. The Seabrook Poker Room is a fantastic poker room with sit-n-gos operating constantly and multi-table tourneys every day. My friends run the place, Tony Capone, Chris Dziadosz, Dan and Les. All great people. They run a solid room with over 70 TV monitors (always tuned to sports), full service food, bar and of course simulcast racing. Caution: Players are fishy and reckless. LOL

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Bee Die-Off Threatens Food Supply, 03 May 2007

This summer when that bee hovers around you, don't kill it, wish it well. The pollination source for 80% of our food supply is severely threatened right now. As stated in the Discover article, Bee Die-Off Threatens Food Supply: "U.S. beekeepers in the past few months have lost one-quarter of their colonies, or about five times the normal winter losses, because of what scientists have dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. The problem started in November and seems to have spread to 27 states, with similar collapses reported in Brazil, Canada and parts of Europe."

God only knows what would happen if Corn relied heavily on bees for pollination. Corn is typically pollinated by the wind. Had this impacted corn growth, the price of milk would be impacted. One small food chain.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Harnessing Wind Energy from Cars, 30 April 2007
Snipped from Archinect.com, this article shows a brilliant application of harnessing wind energy -- "Average vehicle speeds on the valley highways are approximately 70 mph. Using average annual wind speeds of 10 mph as a baseline, each single wind turbine will produce 9,600KwH of energy, annually (enough to fully power my 700 s.f. apartment). This power production estimate will increase exponentially with an increase in wind turbulence speed. I believe that the wind stream created over the freeways by our primary mode of transportation will create an average annual wind speed well beyond the baseline of 10 mph."

My modification to the proposal? Install the turbines underneath existing overpasses thus reducing the construction costs. Also, there is some discussion that the addition of a turbine above a freely moving freeway will reduce some working drag that is benefiting the car already, thus reducing the efficiency of said fuel. By placing them on existing overpasses, the loss of drag already is taken by the overpass. The turbine can harness the effect of the vehicle pushing and pulling through the space below the overpass.

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New York City is Greener than all of Massachusetts?, 11 April 2007
Scientific American says today that the New York City is The Greenest Place in America. They state that "The state of New York 'uses less energy, on a per capita basis, than any state in America.' The average New Yorker 'generates less than a third of the carbon emissions that the average American does.' And here's why: Yes, it houses 8.2 million citizens and uses an enormous amount of energy to do so. Its electrical load, more than 12,000 megawatts, is as large as all of Massachusetts. Yet because the buildings are dense and thus more efficiently heated and cooled, and because 85 percent of all trips in Manhattan are on foot, bike or transit, New York City uses dramatically less energy to serve each of its citizens than does a state like Massachusetts."

Time to buy a bicycle for my 6 mile commute.

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Colin Beavan - No Impact Man, 10 April 2007
Colin Beavan was recently on Colbert to talk about his year without toilet paper. Despite my only recent interest in living a low impact life, to see someone trying for No Impact is a huge challenge. Colbert did rip him fairly well, but Colin did quite well. Especially as Colbert ran 2:30 on a microwave with nothing in it just to waste energy. lol

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Castro, Corn and Capitalism, 08 April 2007

I never in my life thought I would be looking towards Fidel Castro for ethical words about economy and renewable resources, but just as he has suprised the world by remaining in power all these years, he has suprised us again by writing a deathbed manifesto on the evils of corn based ethanol. His country may be suffering from the rising price of corn, but we all will be suffering from the negative benefit of corn based biofuels. It all sounds good, but when one considers how much petrol based energy goes into the production of corn based energy, it begins to make less sense. The article from the Economist is reproduced on Soyatech. I point you to a more detailed and studied commentary from Ronald Cooke.

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Save a Tree, 03 April 2007
FACTS ON JUNK MAIL from the Native Forest Network

  • The average person gets only 1.5 personal letters each week, compared to 10.8 pieces of junk mail.
  • Each person will receive almost 560 pieces of junk mail this year.
  • That's 4.5 million tons of junk mail produced each year!
  • 44% of all junk mail is thrown in the trash, unopened and unread.
  • Approximately 40% of the solid mass that makes up our landfills is paper and paperboard waste.
  • By the year 2010, it is predicted to make up about 48%.
  • 100 million trees are ground up each year to produce junk mail.
  • Lists of names and addresses used in bulk mailings are in mass data-collection networks, compiled from phone books, warranty cards, and charity donations (to name a few).
  • Your name is typically worth 3 to 20 cents each time it is sold.

Need I say more? Save a tree and gain the few minutes back that are stolen from you by direct mail companies while you sort, recycle and manage their unsolicited waste.

posted by Michael Damphousse permanent link - (0) comments
Showtime - Dexter on Showtime- Watch The Killer Season of Dexter, only on Showtime, 29 March 2007

Michael C. Hall, David of Six Feet Under, stars in Dexter on Showtime. I'm late to the game, but my buddy Carl recommended I check it out. I found the first two episodes on Showtime's website and I'm hooked! The cleverness of the concept is wonderful. Hall plays Dexter, a blood spatter forensics expert for the Miami police, who has his own form of learning...he is a serial killer. He's not the creepy Firstname "Wayne" Lastname type serial killer though, he only kills bad guys. Check it out.

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Free iTunes Downloads, 24 March 2007
What a greet RSS feed to add to your collection, Free iTunes Downloads is exactly that, posts free media links for iTunes. I'm always game for a free song or two. Nice way to find new artists.

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This Omnivore's Dilemma, 16 March 2007
Having taken my share of carbon from the world and packing it into my sizable body, my brother-in-law Jason recently recommended I read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. To say it may change the way I think about food is an understatement. I am one of those people that takes a hobby or cause to a new level and make the term "type A personality" seem soft, but this is one mission I believe I may make a permanent one. Thanks for the recommendation Jason!

The first section on the book will do two things for you. It will make you never look at food again without seeing an ear of corn, and it may cause you to want to buy stock in ADM (Cargill is private). That said, investing in the problem is not quite the proper solution, so I recommend invest in yourself and the environment by picking up a copy of the book. See what it does for you. My family will never believe it, but I actually bought organic eggs and milk this week!

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Sanjaya Malakar is Benefiting by a Complex System Anomoly, 01 March 2007
I watch American Idol. I'm not ashamed. My daughter Melissa got me into it. But one thing my daughter listens to all week is how I complain about the voting format. The audience is presented with 10 contestants and can vote for their favorites. The dynamic that takes place is unfair. The standout singers get the votes, and the people that did really bad and need to be saved get the votes. The middle ground, those contestants that should survive another week, get lost in the action.

This week was a classic example with girl-boy Sanjaya, who's skills compare to bad gay bar impersonator of Michael Jackson. But he survived. Absurd.

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Skinny Meez, 28 February 2007
Ok, so a week ago my sister Anne and Linda and I went to Boston's new ICA Museum to see Streb vs. Gravity (Great night out, btw). I mention this idea for an interactive art piece I want to do that would be perfect for the venue. It's flash based and includes animated characters. So today my sister then sent me this link to Meez. It was a bit addictive to sit there for 45 minutes and build my own personal Meez. 45 minutes of my day I won't get back, mind you. But along with a cup of coffee, it was a fun way to start the day. You can personalize it a number of different ways and can also create links for your blog or myspace. Fun. This one is close, glasses, dumb look on my face, cargo shorts, sandals and silly tshirt. Only thing missing is how to add a couple hundred pounds to Skinny Meez to make it more Realiztic Meez.

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