Successful cooking experiment

I tripled the recipe to serve a larger group. The cookbook says the recipe can be prepared in 45 minutes or less; if you need to make more, leave more time for all of the chopping. Also, I microwaved the squash til it was easy to peel and slice, and then combined the first two cooking steps.
1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup walnuts (substituted tamari almonds)
1/3 cup lentils
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro sprigs
fresh lime juice to taste
Preheat oven to 425
After that we vacuum sealed the food, its amazing how long food can stay fresh when you vacuum seal your food. If you are not vacuum sealing your own food then I highly recommend. Check out Vacuum sealer research, they review best vacuum sealers and give amazing tips on how to vacuum seal your food!

How Will the New Homeland Security Bill Affect You

Christian Science monitor interview with the journalist who’s been covering the bill. Good mid-level overview of the content and implications of the bill.

“Secrecy is also a chief concern among critics. The Homeland Security Department’s actions will largely be exempt from Freedom of Information Act oversight by ordinary citizens and will be subject to a decreased level of congressional oversight, critics say.”
“Congress has, to a large extent, left it to the Bush administration to take actions it deems necessary. Critics say this is a blank check that could seriously erode civil liberties by opening the door to widespread surveillance, including creation of a centralized databank collecting all available electronic information on individuals. Supporters say tough measures are necessary during tough times. They stress that the administration will not abuse its powers.”

The founding fathers created laws to forbid searches without warrants and secret trials because they knew from experience with European monarchies that these sorts of policies were subject to abuse. The laws and policies should protect citizens in case the government abuses our trust. That is part of what they meant when they talked about forming “a government of laws, not of men.”
Don’t other people remember this from civics class (and I wasn’t paying that close attention, either)? Do the legislators remember?

Been using a wiki for business collaboration…

…on a project over the last few weeks, with a group of geographically dispersed colleagues. For the most part the experience has been quite pleasant. For folks who aren’t familiar with wikis, they’re collaborative web spaces that anyone can edit.
* The wiki is used to post meeting times, resources for the group, and for individuals to post what they’re working on.
* We typically email to brainstorm ideas; then post the results of the brainstorming to the Wiki where it can be sculpted.
* The absurdly low overhead is delightful — click “edit this page” to edit the page. Even easier than keeping an intranet and ftp-ing html pages (which I’ve done in a previous startup). Less likelihood of versionitis caused by ftp-ing an old file version onto a newer one.
* Easy to keep track of what’s new by clicking on “recent changes”
* Keeps behind-the-scenes work out of email, freeing email for interactive conversation
The easygoing “anyone edit” system works well except when more than one person is editing the same document on a deadline. Upon which we needed to implement “social document management” by verbally “checking-in” and “checking-out” sections.
After the first dozen or so entries, you need to start gardening the home page to keep it from getting tangled and overgrown.
The hyperlink-tyranny of the Wiki interface makes multi-page structures rather dizzying to navigate. This method will top out above a certain level of complexity, without the ability to add more navigational cues.
Using a Wiki is much easier and more pleasant than the corporate Microsoft monoculture, which requires the use of rock-heavy tools like PowerPoint and Word to do simple things.
Using a Wiki requires collaboration and trust within the workgroup. Knowledge management isn’t technological, it’s social.
It will be interesting to see how and whether the use of Wiki will scale when and if the project matures. In the mean time, there’s a set of rapid, low-overhead collaboration processes that the Wiki works really nicely for.

Congress passes bill saving small webcasters from destruction

from Kurt Hanson’s blog, via SlashDot
“In a stunning victory for webcasting, both the Senate and the House of Representatives unanimously passed a revised version of H.R. 5469 late last night that clears the way for copyright owners to offer webcasters a percentage-of-revenues royalty rate, essentially allowing the parties to mutually agree to override the CARP decision of last spring.”
Aggressive lobbying stopped previous versions of the legislation with fixed royalty fees that would have put small webcasters out of business, and helped pass a bill that allows small webcasters to pay fees on a percentage of revenues.
The story isn’t over, according to a Washington Post article; rather than fixing the rates the bill delegates rate-setting to a negotiating process between SoundExchange, a recording industry organization, and the webcasters. But small webcasters support it, according to the coverage I’ve seen.
The Post article doesn’t display correctly in Mozilla, but appears fine in IE.

Blog Neighborhoods

Blogstreet searches a database of 28,000 blogs.
Blogstreet can show which blogs are related to other blogs. If you type in a Blog URL, Blogstreet will show you a list of related blogs derived from their blogroll, and the list of blogs that blogroll it. This would be even more helpful if the neighborhood was assembled using topics and other references. After all, it’s easy enough to blogrollsurf already.

Big brother

So I was thinking about the latest worrisome developments, like John “Iran-Contra” Poindexter running a Defense Department program to set up a vast data mining operation, which will sift through credit card records, medical records, travel records, and email, along with government and legal records, on a vast and random fishing expedition for signs of potential crime.
No prior cause, no warrants, no permission necessary.
William Safire’s tirade against the program, if you haven’t read it yet. Posted by David Weinberger in full, here.
The ACLU’s arguments against it.
And I thought that the one thing we were missing was a real, honest-to-goodness secret police.
Then I saw this. The President’s national security advisors are recommending the creation of a brand new domestic spy agency.