Urbanization of Dubai

November 17, 2008
November 17, 2008
November 11, 2000
November 11, 2000

Dubai undertook a massive engineering project to create hundreds of artificial islands along its coastline. This is the Palm Jumeirah, the first of the palm islands.

These are false-color images where bare ground appears brown, vegetation appears red, water appears dark blue, and buildings and paved surfaces appear light blue or gray. Not only have they created coastline, they have also filled in the desert with building and landscape.

Book Review – The Nine by Jeffrey Tobin


You would expect a book about the inner workings of the United States Supreme Court to be dry and boring. I did, which is why this book has been sitting unread in my book pile for months.

Surprise! I found this book to be very interesting and entertaining.

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court was written by Jeffrey Tobin, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a senior legal analyst at CNN. Toobin guides us through the last twenty years of court history by focusing on individual justices and their roles in some of the most controversial cases.

It is not an unbiased view of the justices. Tobin paints a very flattering picture of the centrist Justice O’Connor. In Toobin’s view Rehnquist has little interest in the reasoning even of his own opinions. He paints Antonin Scalia as the brilliant but pugnacious. Stephen Breyer is portayed as an optimist with an unrealistic belief in his powers of persuasion. Justice Kennedy comes across as pompous. Thomas seems bitter and angry. Ginsburg is charming and briliant. Stevens stands as the last bastion of liberalism on the court. Souter is a hermit living in the woods of New Hampshire who has never plugged in his television.

Toobin also portrays a bumbling Clinton administration putting its appointees on the Court. In comparison, the Bush White House ran its candidates past the religious right for their approval on social issues.

I am lawyer, so I may find the working of the Supreme Court more interesting than non-lawyers. Maybe my view is tainted, but this is one of the best books I have read in many months. I think you should add The Nine to your reading list.

If you are taking constitutional law, this book is a must read. It will provide great insight to some of the recent cases before the court.

A version of this post was first published in Compliance Building, my blog on compliance and business ethics.

Colbert in Space

NASA opened itself to the public for help in naming the latest module for the International Space Station. After over 1 million votes, the winner is “Colbert.” That is Stephen Colbert, the Comedy Central pundit.

But wait a minute, the contest rules sat that NASA will only take the results of voting into consideration. After over 1 million votes, the winner is “Tranquility.” That is the Sea of Tranquility on the moon where Apollo 11 landed.

Sorry Mr. Colbert, NASA avoids naming its stuff after living people. Is there is consolation prize for Mr. Colbert?

colbert treadmillYes!!! This wonderful treadmill.  NASA plans to place this treadmill in the space station and is willing to rename it the ‘Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,’ or COLBERT.

colbert patch for NASAThey even made this special patch for the treadmill, with a cartoon depiction of the treadmill and the acronym.

But after closely monitoring the voting results, who would break the news to Mr. Colbert that he was only going to get the consolation prize?

Suni Williams!!! Two years ago she ran 26.2 miles on a space station treadmill to simulate her running of the Boston Marathon. Here is the video of her appearance on The Colbert Report:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Space Module: Colbert – Sunita Williams
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor NASA Name Contest

Application to Write for GeekDad – Doug Cornelius

As a long time reader of reader of GeekDad I was stunned that there would be openings to join merry clan. So of course I want to throw my hat into the ring. (Or should that be roll my 20-sided die for a hit?)

pony-express-statueBut I was stunned to see that we had to apply by email. EMAIL? Should I also put my application on parchment and send it by Pony Express? But I am willing to compromise. So these first two paragraphs are making their way to you by email, but you will have to read the rest here on my blog.

Well this is actually one of my blogs. My latest professional blog is Compliance Building where I write about compliance and business ethics in my role as Chief Compliance Officer for a real estate private equity company. Here at Doug Cornelius.com we keep it personal. (Okay, so I have pulled the content from my first blog, the now retired KM Space, my second blog, the now retired Real Estate Space, and my third blog, Paddling Space.) You can also see me on Twitter (@dougcornelius), Flickr, Picasa, Upcoming, LinkedIn, SlideShare, Facebook, LibraryThing, Dopplr. . . .

I think that takes care of my geekiness, my experience with blogging, and my experience with social media.

Subject matter expertise? The highlight of fatherhood has been playing Lego StarWars on the Wii with The Son. Videogaming, Legos, and Star Wars all wrapped into one! Although I am not sure how to react when The Son wanted us to play as Boba-Fett and Jengo Fett. Is creepy for him to say “come on son let’s blast these battle droids!”? (Yes, he also likes us to play as Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker.)

The Daughter Playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii
The Daughter Playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii

The Daughter is still young but she seems to be ready for GeekDom. When The Son and I are playing the Wii she likes to wave around her own controller.

We are also moving into comics, but he prefers to call them graphic novels. (Okay, actually he calls them ‘racket novels.)

What else? How about astronomy? Another proud day was The Son correcting his preschool teachers about Pluto. “It’s not a planet. It’s a Kuiper Belt object. It doesn’t clear its orbital path!”

We also spend many nights preceding Halloween by carving pumpkins. You can see some of our Pumpkin creations here in some posts on Doug Cornelius.com

I would be willing to re-label The Son and The Daughter as The Geek-Son and The Geek-Daughter but won’t do it for free. I would demand one of those fancy cartoon portraits that you and the rest of the GeekDad writers have.

Pony Express picture is from Wikimedia Commons.

Obama Knows Where the Wild Things Are


President Obama did an excellent reading of Where the Wild Things Are as part of the White House Easter Egg Roll. This book is a favorite for me and The Son.

For those of you who are unaware, Spike Jonze is directing a movie version of the book. Release is scheduled for October 16, 2009. You can see the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are movie on Apple.

After watching the real trailer, watch the spoof below for Everyone Poops. Another favorite for me and The Son.

Thanks to Tim at the the LibraryThing for pointing out the video of President Obama: Let the Wild Rumpus Start.