How I Voted

I’m going through my Alameda County vote-by-mail ballot and decided to share what I’m thinking and links to useful resources.

If you haven’t already also consider registering to vote by mail — link to form for Alameda County residents (pdf).  Easier to think about it that way; you can still drop it off at your local polling station on Election Day.

UPDATED 3pm 10/31 to include Berkeley rent board, school directors, and AC Transit/BART directors.  I still have to do Berkeley ballot measures at some point, hopefully tomorrow.

UPDATED 5pm 11/4 to include Berkeley bond measures.

State Ballot Initiatives

This is by far the most work to think about each of these initiatives.  I exclusively used Ballotpedia to get information, which has a  list of the ballot initiatives here. My links below jump directly to the “Supporters” section of the respective Ballotpedia entry (and the “Opponents” section below it) for each measure.  I found those sections very useful to “follow the money” and generally gave me a pretty quick idea of which side I’m on.

  • Prop 30. Yes. Tax increase to spend on education.  League of Women Voters (“LWV”) and California Democratic Party support.
  • Prop 31. No. Two year state budget rule, with various constraints on how the budget can be structured.  While I’m really sure that California really needs a total restructuring of its budget process, this didn’t seem fully through through enough to warrant a vote for it. Continue reading How I Voted

Friedman on Race To The Top Programs

Nice piece by Friedman on Obama’s “race to the top” fuel efficiency and school reforms.

“So Romney wants to throw away our cheapest, cleanest oil — the stuff we make in Detroit through greater mileage efficiency — and replace it with the world’s most expensive and dirty oil from the Canadian tar sands . . . . That’s a swap only the Koch brothers could dream up.”

NCDC 1981-2000 Average Temperatures On Google Maps

I’m taking a road trip through the southwest this winter, and was interested in seeing a map of average temperatures so we would know what we’d be driving through.

When I couldn’t find any easily, I decided to see if I could plot data from the National Climate Data Center [FTP] via the Google Maps API.  I loaded the NCDC flat files from that FTP link into a MySQL database, and then exported it into Google Map objects (php writing out javascript objects). Continue reading NCDC 1981-2000 Average Temperatures On Google Maps

SF to Berkeley Bike Ride.

One of my favorite rides — looking forward to doing this again when my broken wrist is healed. There’s a lot of great parks that line the Bay, and it is fun to see the whole SF Bay area in a day. I often stay closer to the East Bay shore, going through Oyster Bay and Hayward Regional Shorelines. I also tend to think it works better in reverse, since either way you are going into the wind in the afternoon and the winds seem to be lighter on the East Bay side. I recommend bringing a lot of water and food (you’re in the Bay Area, but there are 10-20 mile stretches where there are no drinking fountains or convenience stores) and either a good map or a GPS-enabled phone (perhaps both).


View Berkeley – San Francisco bike ride in a larger map

What is there to see between Dublin and Cork (but not *in* Dublin or Cork)?

I asked this on Quora, and no one answered, so I went ahead and answered my own question after having ridden between the two towns. There’s:

  1. the ruin of Kells Priory  (“one of the largest and most impressive medieval monuments in Ireland”);
  2. the Rock of Cashel if you take the northerly route, or some nice seaside towns (Dungarvan, Youghal) if you go by the coast;
  3. The Irish Steam Preservation Society museum with lots of old steam-powered cars and tractors and such.

What to do when flying with bikes.

Bicycle Touring Pro has a good page with major airline policies laid out. It is from 2008, so perhaps a bit out of date, but a good starting point.

This summer (2012) my wife and I flew with our bicycles from San Francisco to Dublin, rode around Europe for the summer, and flew back from Copenhagen to SF. We used British Airways, and they were complete rock stars about it. Free, no hassles. My bike has Ritchey Breakaway couplers in it, similar to (but better than, IMHO) S&S couplers. But I just left it together because it was more of a hassle to have to deal with the Ritchey case at our destination and the additional disassembly/reassembly. Continue reading What to do when flying with bikes.