Birds, time, options and smart people calling each other names

I’m in Los Angeles this week, and not having posted anything in a long time, noted a couple things to share this morning:

  1. Plovers return to Santa Monica beach after 70 years: (my hotel room is sur la plage and has killer sunset views) Here’s a piece in Longreads about how fencing off a section of sand the size of a soccer field and planting some beach plants like rosa rugosa led to the return of the first plover within four months. Turns out people like their beaches clean and groomed, but clean beaches don’t stack up enough seaweed for sand fleas and flies to thrive, and without the bugs, no birds.
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There are plovers down there somewhere.

2. Om Malik has some thoughts on watches and the changing nature of time  in the era of the Apple Watch (which I do not own being of the Android persuasion). Great quote of Lewis Mumford to the effect that the signature machine of the industrialized modern age was the clock.

3. The Bullshit WebNick Heer at Pixel Envy writes about the clutter and crap that drives sensible people to install adblockers. I picked this up from the always excellent Project VRM mailing list.

“The combination of huge images that serve little additional purpose than decoration, several scripts that track how far you scroll on a page, and dozens of scripts that are advertising related means that text-based webpages are now obese and torpid and excreting a casual contempt for visitors.”

4.  Alfred Lee and Corey Weinberg write in The Information about slowly changing policies by startups to extend the window of time beyond 90 days for edeparting employees to exercise stock options by departing. The piece hit a nerve as I just let a bunch of options go unexercised, seeing no sensible reason to go deeply out of pocket and then wrestle with the tax consequences for some future hope they’d actually be worth more than they cost. It would have been far better if I could have dawdled on the decision, but in the heat of starting a new gig there was no way. Moral of the story — unless you’re in the founding class,  options remain a chimera for most employees for private tech companies.

5. Best of Enemies – downloaded this great documentary off of Netflix for the flight to the west coast. William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal were invited to debate during the 1968 conventions and the sparks flew. A harbinger for the current shouting head phenomena that is the basis of modern political debate.  After watching that I headed to Esquire’s “Classic” archives to read Buckley’s 12,500 word essay about his famous meltdown. Next on the reading list is Vidal’s version of events, which spawned one of the ugliest lawsuits and literary feuds in history.  Vidal calls Buckley a “Crypto-Nazi.” Buckley calls him a “queer” and threatens to sock him in the nose. All hell breaks loose.

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View towards Malibu from the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write