Dec 14

Wind Storm

Posted by Simon

On the last day of November we had a giant wind storm in Southern California.  It was particularly bad in the San Gabriel Valley where we live.  We had some roof tiles blow off our house and some very large and unstable eucalyptus trees just down the hill from us blew over.


Many people were without power for days.  We only lost power for one day.  For me It was a reminder of how privileged we are, how much convenience we take for granted and how easily a disruption of our routine can upset us.

Perspective:  At least a billion people in the world never lose electricity or water because they have never had electricity or running water.

Dec 13



(Recycled Hanukkah Card)

Hanukkah is a

holiday about oil

conservation and energy


Merry Hanukkah


Happy Christmas

To all!

Burrow Family Digital Card

The Meaning of Hanukkah

Dec 12

Imported Water

Posted by Simon


“Imported Water?”

We have no idea what this means.  You are in Las Vegas..all water is imported.  The imagined visual that made us laugh all through lunch was the maintenance men pouring Evian Water into the fountain.

Other than that this was a very nice mall just South of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard under the Airport approach.  We had lunch at Brio Tuscan Grille a newish chain from Columbus Ohio.  Excellent food and service.  They are supposedly coming to California next year.

Dec 11

“Proxy climate data from a variety of sources, including ice cores drilled in Greenland and Antarctica, show that global temperatures were warmer for most of the past 100,000 years than they are today.”

Scientists who want to believe that global warming is a giant problem use only data from the last thousand years as their base line so that they can show warming in the last hundred years from the abnormal lows of the Little Ice Age from 1300 to 1900.

“Warmer temperatures have in the real world always been better for human civilization than colder ones.”

Quotes are from James Taylor writing in Forbes Magazine.

Dec 10

Jazz for Cows

Posted by Simon

This should cheer you up!

Dec 10

Better Data One

Posted by Simon

During Thanksgiving weekend I managed to cut the skin off one of my knuckles with a box knife.  The next day I went to the new (two year old) Pasadena Urgent Care facility down the hill.


They first chastised me for not coming in right away and then patched it up using dermabond, put on a splint and gave me an instruction sheet, and this is the part that interests the ideapreneur, which they had just printed from the internet.


This is a big improvement.  It wasn’t too long ago that if they gave you instructions at the clinic they were copies of copies or hand written notes.  I immediately saw two business opportunities from this nascent new method.

  • Provide a dedicated printer/computer to clinics with all of the current data/instruction sheets preloaded for them.
  • Build a program that immediately sends the data/instruction sheet to the persons iPhone, email or other device.  It could even have a confirmation and help link.

These are both good ideas for products that are in one of the fastest growing US market, Medical Care.  Both of them would tend to lower costs and increase efficiency.

BTW The Urgent Care facility was a real eyeopener for me.  I felt like I saw the future of healthcare, and it looked pretty good.  More later on this.


Dec 9

A Federal Pay Cut

Posted by Simon

The annual federal deficit is lingering at about a trillion dollars.  Yes that is Trillion with a “T”. I have a way to solve a big part of this problem.

  • Cut the pay and benefits of all federal employees about 10%.
  • This would save the federal govt. about 200 billion a year. (see the math below the fold)
  • It would also signal that we are serious about cutting the size of government.
  • The cut could be progressive.  About 25% for the best paid and 5% for the lowest paid federal workers.


Government workers are by all accounts better paid than those in the the private sector and have higher benefits and much higher job security.  This change would have the effect of getting their pay back in line with the private sector and would solve a substantial part of the deficit issue.

How popular would this idea be with the voters? the media?  Could it be a strategy for winning the presidency?

Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 8

December 8, 2011 Maxim

Posted by Simon

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

Subscript on an email from Paul D.

Dec 7

Kill the Penny

Posted by Simon

Great video with a compelling and irrefutable argument.

Dec 7


Posted by Simon

Capirotada is a book about Nogales written by Alberto Rios.  Capirotada is also a Mexican bread pudding.  Read the book and you will learn about food and the border and immigrants.

Here is my review on Amazon:

Capirotada is a special book.  Its simplicity moved me and the small stories that it told helped me feel how Nogales was in the 1950’s and 60’s.  I usually find memoirs to be too orderly for literature and to self-serving for nonfiction. This one is different.  Rios’s memoir is beautiful literature.

Alberto Rios writes in the same way that a great abstract painter paints.  He draws an outline and leaves blank spaces.  He admits that he doesn’t know things.  The pieces that he puts in are enough so that you can accept the unknowns and the uncertainties of his life or yours and just see enough of the picture so you can feel how it was without knowing everything.

Capirotada is brilliantly written book that is a marvelous tribute to his parents, to Nogales, and to immigrants everywhere.

I bough the book many years ago and found it the other day while looking for another book with a map of Tijuana.  I was going to send it to Maria Sedgewick since she lives and works in Nogales but I read a few pages and was captivated.  I ended up with four connections to the book.  Rios’s mother came to the US from England on the same Cunard ship that I came on.  I was about six years behind her.  Rios teaches at ASU where the Changing Boundaries Map exhibit is currently and he has, according to his web site an interest in maps.  And finally there is our shared connection to Nogales.