Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Monstertrack 2007

What: Monstertrack 8
What? Alleycat--a type of race based on what bike messengers do, with checkpoints in an urban setting. Also, only fixed gear, no brakes (!).
When: Sat., Feb. 17, 2007
Where: Across Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York, NY
Here are some pictures that I took. A telephoto lens would have come in handy.

Checking in at Seward Park in Manhattan's Chinatown.

Two spectators on bikes.

Getting ready to release the hounds. The event organizers kept telling the competitors to get back against the wall.

The participants run for their bikes and take off.

Prior to the beginning of the race, we waited around for about an hour. I'm not sure what caused the delay. Consequently, the race didn't start until 4 or so. I believe the fastest racers finished in about two hours.

Once the racers took off, I couldn't get any good pictures. I lost sight of them as they raced into the distance, but a cacophony of honking car horns took their place.

Monstertrack competitor robotikon posted footage taken from a helmet cam:

Crazy, crazy! Notice how the racers didn't stop for traffic (auto or pedestrian). As far as I know, no one got hurt. I also understand that they took advantage of some non-bike-sanctioned paths. The last part of the race took competitors across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. Savvy racers biked across the bridge with auto traffic, a faster route than the elevated pedestrian/bike walkway.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happening: Pillow Fight NYC 2007

What: Pillow Fight NYC
When: Sat., Feb. 24, 2007, at 2 p.m.
Where: Union Square, New York, NY
FREE! Rain or shine. Soft pillows only. (A video of last year's pillow fight can be found on the event Web site, linked above.)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Incandescent vs. Compact Fluorescents

60w incandescent bulb.

Philips 14w Universal Marathon compact fluorescent bulb (40-50w equivalent).

Philips 16w A-shape compact fluorescent bulb (50-60w equivalent).

Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) have gotten a boost from different quarters recently. I've noticed, however, that many people still have reservations about the quality of the light given off by CFLs. My first CFL was from IKEA, and I found out, along with many other consumers, that its light was truly soul-sucking.

After reading a discussion on purchasing "non-killer" fluorescent lightbulbs, I felt prepared to give them another try. For one, I learned that the quality of a CFL differs from brand to brand. A CFL's color rendering index (CRI) is also important. The higher a bulb's CRI, the better its ability to render visible colors. (The sun has a CRI of 100.)

One brand people seemed to recommend consistently was Philips. So I got the Philips Universal Marathon ($9.50) and the Philips A-shape bulb ($10.50) (from online retailer EFI). Both bulbs boast "Alto" technology, meaning less mercury content and thus less hazardous waste when they are disposed of.

L-R: 60w incandescent, Philips 14w CFL, Philips 16w A-shape CFL.

I'm pleased so far with both bulbs, which I use in my bedroom. I took some pictures and have posted them here. Although it's hard to tell by the pictures, I haven't noticed a difference in the light given off by the CFLs. I highly recommend them. And the cost shouldn't be a deterrent. They are pricey, but they should save one money in the long run.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


"Lego Breakdance X3M," by skaliz.
The other evening on my way home from work, I was trying to snooze on the subway when some kids began to perform. I've seen kids dance on the train before for money, but I was impressed when these four boys started breakdancing. (And they looked like boys--the youngest might have been only 11 or 12.) They pulled some incredible moves. One kid "hopped" up and down on one arm. Another kid did a running backflip off the train doors. They easily did backward handsprings. All this in a space that's approximately 7 feet by 7 feet. I was envious.

Check out skaliz's YouTube video Lego Breakdance X3M. Those Lego men are also pretty good breakdancers.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Global Warming Needs Our Help"

Favorite line: "Fact: Global warming will cause the dead to reanimate and roam the Earth as zombies once again. But don't be afraid. They're going to be, like, fun zombies." -A Very Convenient Truth, Sarah Silverman

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