STRANGE BEDFELLOWS? [via Meggie McKenna]

Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.....

One of the Biggest AWWWWWWW's of the year.

The Jesusita Fire in Santa Barbara , CA this year caused these two to take shelter together. The fawn is about 3 days old and the bobcat about 3 weeks.

They immediately bonded and snuggled together under a desk in the Santa Barbara County Dispatch Office for several hours.

Animal Planet is reporting the bobcat kitten was rescued near Arnold Schwarzenegger's ranch, where it was dehydrated and near death.

They rescued the fawn during the wildfire. Although wild animals, especially of separate species, are never placed together due to regulations, in this emergency situation, they had no choice. During the mayhem of the fire, they were forced to put animals anywhere they could, since they had run out of crates large enough for the fawn. The kitten ran to the fawn, and it was instant bonding.


A bit of cultural news for a welcome change..

After a two year loan to the United States ,

Michelangelo's David is being returned to Italy . . .


Predicting the Unpredictable

After graduating from college, I left the barren Arizona desert for Manhattan to take my first job. It didn't take long for my new Manhattanite friends to inform me that it was time to upgrade to wine from beer, so I enrolled in a wine-tasting class. But while it was great fun, I don't think that I was any better at assessing the quality of wine after I'd completed the class than I was going in, though I was much better at faking it.

It wasn't until years later that I discovered the secret, and it came via a Princeton economist. Understanding the fact that wine is an agricultural product, and as such is dramatically affected by weather, Orley Ashenfelter used decades of weather data and auction prices to come up with this equation for Bordeaux wines:

"Wine quality = 12.145 + 0.00117 winter rainfall + 0.0614 average growing season temperature 0.00386 harvest rainfall"

Assessing wine is considered an art rather than a science, but oftentimes creativity is about applying a little science to art as Orley did by taking into account weather and auction data. In an effort to inspire entrepreneurs to also turn ill-practiced art into science, below I share a few other examples.

The Mathematics of War

Sean Gourley, a physicist by training, wanted to gain a deeper understanding of what was happening with the war in Iraq. So he worked with a cross-functional group to understand "the mathematics of war." What he found was fascinating, that guerilla wars around the world in Iraq, Columbia, Peru, Indonesia and Afghanistan could be reduced to this equation:

Gourley tells the entire story in the video below, including how he arrived at the fact that alpha (the slope of the line) is 2.56. As he explains it, guerilla war has evolved to a state of equilibrium that can be defined by an equation that there is an optimal organizational structure for fighting an organized military. Guerillas either discover this structure, and implicitly, this formula, or they get killed off.

Mathletics, Sabermetrics and "Moneyball"

The story of Sabermetrics and statistics in baseball has been told many times, so I won't repeat it here. Suffice to say that if you have any interest in baseball stats, "Moneyball" is a must-read.

A story not as widely told is that of Wayne Winston and the Dallas Mavericks. A few years ago, Winston, a decision sciences professor from Indiana University, consulted the Mavericks on a new rating system aimed at measuring the impact a player has on the entire team. Points or assists don't offer much information in and of themselves; what's far more valuable information for a team is answering the question: "When player x is on the court, does our lead grow or shrink?"

From a 2003 New York Times article about the system:

Ignoring every traditional statistic for players, Sagarin and Winston have designed a ranking that is modeled on hockey's plus-minus system, in which players receive credit for being in the game when their team does well. Whether they actually score points or grab rebounds does not matter.

"Did you make the pass before the assist? Did you tip a ball to someone who made a shot? Did you set a pick? Did you take a charge?" said Winston, a fast-talking former "Jeopardy" champion who, like Sagarin, grew up outside New York City rooting for the Knicks of the late 1960's and early 70's.

"Nobody's got a stat for these," Winston said. "Ninety percent of basketball is made up of things there aren't stats for."

I just pre-ordered Winston's new book, "Mathletics," due out this fall. I can't wait to read it.

How to Develop a "Prediction Function"

Step 1:

Start with some insight about the relation between two things like the fact that weather determines wine quality.

Step 2:

Identify "output" data to tune your prediction function for example, historic auction prices as an approximation for wine quality.

Step 3:

Graph the data to examine the best way to extract the function. Does the data look like it fits a line? If so, do a simple linear regression (a very simple way to do this is the Regression function in Microsoft Excel's Data Analysis package - unfortunately, it's no longer available on Excel for the Mac, but you can do it elswhere). Does the data look like an exponential curve? If so, you can do a logarithmic regression (here is an online tool for a simple regression). And you can use much more sophisticated statistics to find the right equation, if one exists.

Step 4:


There are so many areas in which having the ability to make dramatically better predictions would enhance our lives jobs, dating and health, to name a few. I can't wait to see what the future has in store.

Mike Speiser is a Managing Director at Sutter Hill Ventures. His thoughts on technology, economics and entrepreneurship will appear every week on


Tales From Yogastanio (Santa Monica, CA) and a roadmap to conscious living.

Email Address: Email Me


One-Line Bio: MaMo : 21st century seeker


Stoker, Dacre & Ian Holt DRACULA: The Un-Dead Bram’s great-grandnephew teams up with Dracula buff Holt to reclaim vampire lit from the unholy, unlettered legions churning out today’s fang-and-cloak stuff. This big, blood-filled kitchen sink of a debut boasts a vast cast of characters: Bram Stoker himself, as well as his nefarious Count, Jack the Ripper, Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, Oscar Wilde, “blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, a mysterious Eastern European actor and a whole bunch of extremely hot (but also extremely cold, being dead and all) vampire chicks of uncertain gender preference. Bathory is definitely the heavy of the story, and it seems she’s spoiling to outdo the number of grisly murders she is said to have committed in life, aided by a coterie of spidery bloodsucking assistants. As befits a multigenerational saga that springs from a book that had few survivors, some familiar characters are on the other side of the live/dead line, and some—well, some are indeed in the undead camp. There’s lots of good old-fashioned polymorphously perverse degenerate romping (“Every orifice in her body became his plaything”). Stoker and Holt are careful not to go too far afield from the conventions of the original; Van Helsing, for instance, comes armed with “crosses, wafers, holy water, a wooden stake, a Bowie knife, and a crossbow armed and ready to fire,” rather than some postmodern substitute for all that good wood and metal. Yet this competently (but no more than competently) written sequel—endorsed by the Stoker family, the publisher assures—has plenty of contemporary twists, including a weird Darth Vaderish turn at the end that some Bram-faithful readers may find magnificently silly. Flies and spiders, master! Big, messy, lots of fun—and not Stephenie Meyer.

Dracula: The Un-Dead Publishers Weekly Rave Review!

Undead PW Review

YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP! [via Mary Calhoun]


Some old and some new, just like us... worth a chuckle and a memory....

1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye...

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 62. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was.. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these, yourself!"

8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised, "mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more20than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said, "how do you make babies?" "It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked. "Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds back," said one child. "No," said another. "He's just for good luck." ;A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. "Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.. Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over; you hear gas leaks, and they blame their dog.

TROGLODYTE VILLAGE IN IRAN [via Thrillionaire Nik Halik]

In the north east of Iran, at the foot of Mount Sahand in Kandovan,
the villagers live in cave homes carved out of the volcanic rock.

The age of some houses is more than 700 years.

THE POWER OF FLIGHT [via David Angsten]

FA 18 going SONIC ! !

F 111C AARDVARK Sump , and burnout

F 15C , fastest takeoff ever measured

F 15E Strike Eagle - Wales

THE POWER OF FLIGHT [via David Angsten]

757 at Gatwick with wake vortex

757 showing wing vortex on clouds

767 wing vortex on clouds ! !

108 Sun Salutations Pledge Drive


Yoga Gives Back

Noon to 4:00 p . m . , Sunday, September 20th, 2009

(HAX Hangar, 3203 Jack Northrop Ave, Hawthorne - Exit 105, near LAX)

Yoga Gives Back supports microloans to women living in poverty in India, the birthplaceof yoga. On Sept. 20, 2009, Yoga Gives Back will join YogaMonth and Global Mala in a special "108 Sun Salutations" for fundraising. Join Yoga Gives Back team, beginners or advanced!

We will do 6 sessions of 18 Sun Salutations, led by distinguished teachers, Mariel Hemingway, Hemalayaa, Sara Ivanhoe, Tony Khalife, Krishna Kaur, Hala Khouri, Kia Miller, Saul David Raye, Beth Shaw & others.

You can make a positive change in an Indian woman's life by donating to our awareness campaign and asking friends, teachers, family for a $1 donation per salutation -- or a flat donation.

Each team member will receive a YGB 1st edition T-shirt at the event!!

To join the Yoga Gives Back Team, respond now to:

We will send you instructions by return email. Thank you very much for your support!

Did you know that September is National Month of Yoga for Health?

This is part of Yoga Month’s Event, 9 a. m.—7 p. m. – and it is free!

Enjoy yoga classes for kids and adults, lectures, healthy food, family fun, Green exhibits. Music performances by Govindas, Radha, Tony Khalife, Travis Eliot, Zat Baraka and others.

You will also receive 1 free week of yoga!