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Safari Surfin’, Kenya!

September 29, 2008 by  

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Well Team… So, I’ve made it across the border into Tanzania! My last country on the tour (unless you count Zanzibar, which does give you a stamp and sorta is its own country but thank God they don’t charge for Visas because Tanzania charges $100 USD! (of course we charge them much more, so I guess it’s only fair). Turns out Americans are traveling to Kenya! So says Rebecca who runs the Miliani Backpackers in Nairobi. She says there have been many more Americans than ever before since about April. I asked if it was about Obama… and it is. His father is from Kenya, and so many Americans are now aware of a badass country called Kenya and are coming. This is good since Kenya tourism is SLOOOOWWWWW thanks to the problems in January and February. Rebecca also told me about how she and her family survived the riots and people blocking roads, throwing rocks and burning tires. And racing through the line of people with horn “hooting” and skidding into their apartment garage as the guard slammed it shut on the oncoming crowd. Straight out of a movie, except that it was real. Fortunately Kenya is…

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South Africa Hosts 4,000 km Solar Car Race

September 29, 2008 by  

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As fall weather descends on the northern hemisphere, over 40 solar-powered vehicles have just kicked off a 2-week race through South Africa. The contest, called the South African Solar Challenge, tests the engineering, creativity, and endurance of sun ray-cers over demanding terrain. The main promoter of the race is the Advanced Energy Foundation, whose mission is to promote innovation in transportation and energy management technologies. Over the full course, contestants will complete a 4,175 km loop from Johannesburg to Cape Town, then back along the southern coast, all the while grappling with hills, wind, and navigation. 2008 is a the first year of the challenge, which is planned to be run every two years. About 20 teams in the race are local with a roughly equal number being international teams. Beyond pure solar cars, other vehicle categories cover electrics, hybrids, and biofuel cars.


Rwanda Rumors Cleaned Up

September 28, 2008 by  

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A few words on Rwanda. 1. The roads are great 2. The people are super super nice 3. They speak French, not English, so the language barrier popped up for the first time this trip and I remembered how much harder it is to get around when you have to communicate with signs and smiles. 4. The genocide memorial is sad, touching, disturbing and heartbreaking. However, unlike the Tual Song Prison and Killing Fields in Cambodia, it isn’t as horrible. The reason is that it is a memorial built to heal and teach. The mass grave outside of 250,000 (!!!!!) people is covered in a granite slab. In Cambodia you are walking on bones and teeth. The horrors are no less terrible or real, but the experience wasn’t as devastating as Cambodia. However, there are churches in Rwanda with clothes and bones and even one where the bodies are all preserved in Lime 14 years later, including hundreds of children. So had I made it there I’m sure I would be so fucking disturbed and angry right now I couldn’t contain myself. The things that people can do to each other is just staggering… 5. It’s a beautiful…

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Saving Pandora

September 28, 2008 by  

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Here’s a letter from Pandora founder Tim Westergren asking for help: Hi, it’s Tim from Pandora; Today, thanks to the extraordinary support of many Pandora listeners, we took a giant step forward when the House of Representatives supported Pandora and Internet radio and passed the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. Now we need your help so that the Senate will pass it also – and quickly… The finish line is in sight! After a yearlong negotiation, Pandora, SoundExchange and the RIAA are finally optimistic about reaching an agreement on royalties that would save Pandora and Internet radio. The legislation would give us the extra time we need to finalize the deal. Please call your Senators Monday morning starting at 9:00 (Eastern) and ask them to support the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. The person who answers the phone in your Senator’s office may ask for the bill number – it’s H.R. 7084 (if they ask for a Senate bill number, you can assure them that in this unusual case, the Senate is actually voting on the House bill number). Senator Barbara Boxer: (202) 224-3553 Senator Dianne Feinstein: (202) 224-3841 If the phone is busy, please try again until you get…

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The Flavors of Las Vegas in 55 Hours

September 26, 2008 by  

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I’ve written about Las Vegas on several occasions, largely around trips to this glittery city for industry conventions. I just came back from BlogWorldExpo, which reminded me a bit like Comdex meets SXSW but for the blogosphere. Held at the Convention Center’s south hall, it is still small enough for the networking and content value to be well worth the trip. Through my first cabbie, who screamed at me when I asked for a receipt, I learned about “blocking the box,” which is apparently illegal in New York but fine in Vegas. There was a campaign in the eighties to end the gridlock in New York, which pushed cab drivers to stay before an intersection with white lines painted across it. In Vegas however, you can get a $150 ticket for honking your horn since the locals consider it “road rage.” Go figure. I always laugh at my European friends who compare Vegas with New York. While both may be bright, have great restaurants, loud people, tons of entertainment and rock all night, the cultures are very different. Where else can you sign up for a course that…

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Bay Area DJ Dennis Erectus Needs Your Help

September 26, 2008 by  

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The great KOME-FM DJ Dennis Erectus has been hospitalized since having a heart attack almost two years ago, and his friends are trying to put together a collection of his greatest moments on the air to sell and help pay the bills. They are asking fans to send any tapes of Dennis’ old shows. Contact jamieearl@yahoo.com if you have some and can help out. Erectus was wilder and crazier than Howard Stern in the 80s and his shows were like weird goth plays. They were a highlight on the San Jose radio dial and helped KOME become a nationally known station. He was doing overnight engineering at KEZR-FM and on his way to the station after Thanksgiving dinner when he had a heart attack, collapsed alone, and lost oxygen to his brain. He is beloved in the San Jose and San Francisco radio markets.


The Battle of the Sex-ist between John McCain and Bill Clinton

September 25, 2008 by  

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I’m not sure who should win this week’s award for Biggest Sexist in Politics. John McCain or Bill Clinton. For that matter, we might also want to consider Pakistan’s new president, Asif Ali Zardari, for the greeting he gave Sarah Palin when he first laid eyes on the 44-year-old hockey mom during their brief meeting yesterday at a New York hotel. As the Los Angeles Times reported, the Pakistani leader swooned that Palin was “even more gorgeous” in person than he had imagined. “You are so nice,” Palin said demurely. “Thank you.” At which point, obviously sensing the gravity of the moment, a Zardari aide requested that the two new friends do a photo-op and shake hands. “I’m supposed to pose again,” Palin said coyly. “If he’s insisting,” Zardari said gamely, “I might hug.” Unfortunately that’s where the account of the photo-op ends so I can’t confirm the hug. Other than this knee-jerk (jerky?) diplomacy, you’re probably wondering if they talked about anything foreign. Like, say, Pakistan’s apparent problem with U.S. helicopters straying across its border with Afghanistan. Or the suicide truck bomb that destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad just the Saturday before, killing more than 40 people and…

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Today, Sarah Googles “McCain & Regulation”

September 25, 2008 by  

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I know everyone has likely already seen the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin since its all over the web, but why take a chance that even one person hasn’t yet experienced Palin’s wisdom and intellect? This video needs to sit in everyone’s blog even if they’ve never written about or cared about politics in their life. It’s astonishing that even one person in this country can ‘accept’ such mediocrity. How did we come this far? Sink this low? She’s the voice of McCain and can’t even come up with one example in his 26 year history for how he has pushed for more regulation, but hey, “she’ll try to find some for ya (in the dusty files of his basement?) Katie and bring ‘em to ya.” Is this for real or was it really a Saturday Night Live re-run and someone is playing a joke on me. And as for what some moms think of this articulate wonderstar from Alaska who btw, doesn’t know how to wear lipstick, check out Momocrats. I’ve included some of the funnier comments – they’re too good not to reprint. “Damn I’ve had conversations with

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