Saturday, August 23, 2014

4x 100, etc.


Just wrapped up my fourth 100+-mile week on the bicycle in a row. This week was also my first time participating in an "organized cycling event" (fortunately I'm not very noticeable in any of the pictures, as most of the nearly naked riders were much easier on the eyes than me). After a little looking around, I've also found the bike shop I plan to call home.

I'm thinking I may shoot for 150 miles next week. I'm still in 29th place of 287 riders in the Gainesville Cycling Club's National Bike Challenge Team and in 13,284th place out of 45,233 riders nationally. Not that I really think of it as a competition per se, but I am trying to measure up as a rider of at least average activity/dedication just because that's how I am.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reconsidering Diaspora ...


Never have really gotten with the program on Diaspora. I try to remember to drop in and see how it's coming along every now and again when something reminds me to. Today was one of those occasions:

A sustained clampdown on the Twitter presence of Islamic State (IS) has forced the hardline jihadist group to explore less well-known social media platforms, setting up a string of accounts on the privacy-focused Diaspora.

Not that I have any sympathy for Islamic State, mind you. They don't appear to be any better than most states (in fact, they seem to be a good deal worse than most states in ways that are important to me).

But to the extent that I'm interested in what IS is up to, I'd rather my social networks didn't decide for me whether or not I can hear about it directly from them.

Twitter and Facebook (and probably Google Plus, although I've never noticed one way or the other), for whatever reasons, aren't content to serve as neutral content delivery platforms. They take it upon themselves to decide what I'm allowed or not allowed to see over their networks, preemptively substituting their preferences for my own, possibly contrary, preferences.

So anyway,  Diaspora seems to be coming along nicely as a social networking framework. Hopefully IFTTT will be along with a Diaspora "channel" some time soon.

About "Non-Partisan" Elections and Offices


Per the Orlando Sentinel [hat tip -- Sayfie Review]:

Orange County commissioners voted late Tuesday to ask voters to make constitutional officers such as the sheriff and tax collector term-limited, nonpartisan races.

There ain't no such thing as a "non-partisan race" -- at least not in any significant election.

Taking Orange County, population 1.2 million (and 45 million tourist visitors per year), as an example, consider the position of Sheriff.

There will almost certainly be a Republican candidate for that office -- that is, a candidate personally identifying with, and backed by, the Republican Party.

There will almost certainly be a Democratic candidate for that office -- that is, a candidate personally identifying with, and backed by, the Democratic Party.

There may also be candidates affiliated with and backed by other, "third" parties.

Amendment or no, that's how it is and that's how it's going to stay, for the simple reason that the Orange County Sheriff's Office is a large, powerful political enterprise (2,400 employees and an annual budget of $180 million).

All the commissioners are really proposing is that voters deny themselves the most convenient source of information -- a party designation and/or logo -- concerning the partisan affiliations and backing of the candidates they're considering.

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