Bad for cycling, good for US Cycling!

The day before the Tour de France starts, the top contenders were ejected from the race after “overwhelming evidence” showed that they were doping. Three of the top 5 from last year are included. The most shocking ejections are Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso, one of which was practically guaranteed to win this year. Basso and Ullrich deny the charges, which is probably expected.
And poor Vinokourov… he left T-Mobile last year because Jan was the captain and now his new team is all but gone from the race and he wasn’t even implicated. If only had had stayed on T-Mobile, he’d be the team leader on probably the winner. He can’t possibly win now. Update: He can’t win now because his whole team has been pulled.
On the bright side, this is going to make it much easier on Americans Hincapie, Leipheimer and Landis to get on the podium, if not win it!
It’s great that the UCI is hard-line about anti-doping. If only other sports were as strict.

"Leave your kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing"

On Monday, in yet another Onion headline come to life, Warren Buffett gave his fortune to Bill Gates. What Warren Buffett (and the Gates) are doing is admirable. Their commitment should set a standard to which other very wealthy families are compared. When the second richest man on earth comes out strenuously against repealing the estate tax (because it creates a cycle of dependency, and is the opposite of the meritocratic society) and gets behind those words with action, I hope the country listens.

Why our leaders can't lead

Colbert Report: A congressman who sponsored a bill to display the 10 Commandments in a judicial building can’t name a better building than a courtroom to display them (a Church is a worse place to display them?), but more importantly, wants our justice system to follow 10 rules that he doesn’t even know. If he hasn’t even read the 10 Commandments, can we believe he’s read the bill he is trying to push through Congress?

Congress just secretly voted to give themselves another pay-raise, something they’ve done ever year for 7 years, while voting against a minimum-wage increase, something they’ve done every year for 9 years. If we’re paying their salaries, is it too much to ask that they actually spend some time reading the things they endorse?

Argh! I hate politics. Why do I even bother to find something positive  in the political news?

Roethlisberger (cont.)

Ben was appropriately contrite after his idiotic accident:

“I recognize that I have a responsibility to safeguard my health in the off-season so I can continue to lead our team effectively. I never meant any harm to others nor to break any laws. I was confident in my ability to ride a motorcycle and simply believed such an accident would not happen to me.

“If I ever ride again, it certainly will be with a helmet.”

He didn’t intend to break any laws, yeah, I guess, although the law was pretty clear that he was not licensed to ride without a helmet. Cowher had wise words on Ben’s stupidity:

“Sometimes with the lessons of life, you have to get knocked down before you get back up,” he said.

But I won’t be eating any Roethlis-burgers until I’m sure he’s ready to win another Super Bowl.

Bill Gates quits Microsoft

Wow, end of an era. Bill Gates is stepping down from full-time Microsoft role to transition to full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Good for him, it’s gotta be tough to leave the company you founded. But I can’t believe this is because Microsoft needs executive changes — Gates wasn’t the problem. Ballmer and Allchin are the problem. They booted Allchin last year, which was smart. But Ballmer’s gotta be on his way out the door too. Ballmer is a sales guy who’d be just as happy back at Procter & Gamble selling detergent. He’s the one that turned the company from a software company to a company that makes software. That’s when Microsoft lost its edge.

New cell phone

My new cell phone arrived today, a Nokia E61, aka, the “Nokiaberry”. Now I’m in cool club of people who use smartphones and can retire my dumbphone. This thing is long and coming to the US so there’s very few reviews of it online, so maybe I’ll write one here after I’ve used it a couple weeks.

Roethlisberger in motorcycle accident without a helmet

Roethlisberger in surgery after serious motorcycle crash. I hope he recovers and it looks like he will, but crikey, what a lucky idiot. He’s 24 and on his way to be one of the NFL’s greatest players in history and he risks it so he can ride his motorcycle without a helmet. NFL Radio played a year-old interview with Ben about riding without a helmet where the reporter said “But you wouldn’t play football without a helmet” and he replied that he wears a helmet in the NFL because the NFL says you have to wear a helmet. So would he not wear a helmet if the NFL said he didn’t have to? He’s certainly not the brightest guy in the world.

How Google is Killing the Internet

The Motley Fool offers one of the most straightforward discussions of Google’s revenue underbelly: the Link farms, splogs and scraper sites that are ruining the internet, are made possible by, and making tons of money for Google. The other ad networks that bill themselves as search engines (Yahoo, MSN, AOL etc.) are not innocent it is just that Google is the dominate player in both (ads and search), so most capable of changing the game — the others are just following the Goo.

While I don’t doubt that there is a ton of insider sales simply because the stock is crazy high and people would like to cash out, I disagree with the article’s conclusion that things like Google Spreadsheets is an effort to divert attention from a failing business model to keep the stock artificially high. I believe these great web apps and stupid experiments, truly are the result of the 20% free time that Google employees have to do what they want to. I think the corporate culture is to allow programming artists (unlike like Subway artists) to create things they want and need, and from that great things come. I don’t think there really is a grand plan, but they have more money than god to just throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks. That is a really great thing — of course, I’m not a Google shareholder either, but…

I do hope they start charging for some of the worthwhile things they make, so their will be less incentive for the Internet splogs, frauds and scrapers. (This is where Microsoft is going wrong by following Google.) People are willing to pay a little for something of value. If we don’t see more business models that make users the customer we will end up with an Internet geared towards advertisers and the thieves that support them.