SF to San Mateo bicycle commute

I the last two weeks, I used the opportunity of lighter traffic to try to commute by bicycle from San Francisco to San Mateo.

I mostly followed the North-South Route Map that is available on the Peninsula Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee.

My exact complete route is 23.1 miles long door-to-door… and it takes me about 2 hours to complete. I have mapped it on veloroutes.org.

Here is also an image of the elevation data.

Thoughts on some 24C3 sessions

24C3 is the 24th Chaos Communication Congress, a 4-day conference I got to know reading this post at the always awesome We make money not art. All sessions were videotaped and are available to download.

Things are changing faster than we can die I can count every star in the heavens above but I have no heart I can't fall in love…

I absolutely recommend the presentation given by Drew Endy on DNA programming. In a nutshell, Drew views DNA as an evolved program in some poorly documented machine language and shares his experience reverse-engineering this program, synthesizing DNA and uploading it to a cell i.e. “hacking biology”.

The session Paparazzi – The free autopilot is about how anyone can build a cheap version of the $1M UAV/drones monitoring everyone of us 24/7. Quite interesting for anyone with an interest in aviation. The cool thing is that the drone is literally remotely controlled via an open source software you can find here. You can assign a flight plan to the drone and it will follow it. The platform is packed with sensors that allow remote control and capture of data (videos, pictures). I hope these guys talk with the OpenStreetMap people: how could would it be to use this platform to capture views from the sky at a much higher resolution than satellites can provide.

I also watched the session Hacking ideologies, part 2: Open Source, a capitalist movement. There were a few shocking comments in there, but I was glad to get a refresher on the nature of capitalism from the very sharp Dmytri Kleiner:

“Capitalism is not so much about creating money or wealth. What creates wealth is work. Capitalism is about making money from other’s people work. It isn’t about money creation but about money extraction. […] The kind of information that capitalism is interested about is information that increased productive capacity. More productivity is more money to extract. The kind of information that capitalism is not interested about is information that is not about increased productivity or information that questions the system or information about the nature of capitalism. […] P2P offers no point of mediation where value can be captured, but at the same time p2p has to be financed by some wealth accumulation.”

This last point particularly resonated with me since I’m a big believer of decentralized social networks. I’m curious to see how a promising project like the DiSo project will resolve this chicken/egg problem: to finance a decentralized system, you need accumulated wealth, but to attract accumulated wealth you need a point of mediation where you can extract value, which you don’t have in a decentralized system.

One way may simply be some form of public funding. After all, if we didn’t have ARPA, we would probably all be surfing AOLNet or MSNNet these days.

Anyway, this conference is clearly politically incorrect in many ways but is awesome and I recommend everyone to watch some of these sessions!

Beating AAPL and DJIA with the Yen

Since I last recommended investing in the Yen, FXY, an ETF that tracks the Yen, has increased by 4.58%, primarily driven by the unwinding of the carry-trade. Bloomberg noted that the Yen is now at its 4-month high. The Yen has broken the support level of 118 Yen for 1 USD.

I have restored my long position this morning, expecting a slide of the market indexes today in light of the PPI release and a further slide tomorrow after the release of the CPI, which I expect to be slightly higher than expectations.

In comparison, AAPL has increased by only 3.66% in the same time frame, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has decreased by 4.28%.

I think I know now which currency Warren Buffet has been betting on.

Osamu Tezuka’s Mermaid

I discovered Osamu Tezuka’s Mermaid at a retrospective of some of his earlier animation movies organized in 2003 by a local cinema, Rue des Feuillantines in Paris.

I absolutely loved the Mermaid, which is to me more of an animated poem. The music Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by Claude Debussy is equally magnificent.

I really hope they play it at the current even marvelofmanga.org, but in the meantime, I found that you can watch it on Google Videos:

Investing in the Yen (2)

Since I last recommended an investment in the Yen, FXY – an ETF tacking the Yen – has gained 3.7%. That’s certainly not much compared to the 20.23% gained by AAPL, but still much better than the pretty much flat Dow Jones Industrial (-0.54%).

So, I’m pretty happy with my 3.7% return over 1 month, and in light of the incertainties of next week, I have sold my stake in FXY and locked my profits.

Where are we going from now? I am not as confident as I was one month ago. If the credit crunch worries and the equity sell-off continue next week, we’ll inevitably see some more gains of the Yen over all major currencies, but whether the sell-off will continue is hard to tell right now. The action on Monday 7/30 will be interesting to watch before taking new positions regarding the Yen.