Gas Pump Screen Could Save Millions of Liters of Dripped Gas


Gas Pump Screen Could Save Millions of Liters of Dripped Gas:

Spilling gas on your shoes after you fill your car seems like just a small annoyance. But it happens to everyone, and apparently all that wasted fuel adds up to about half a billion liters of fuel lost every year. An epidemic this simple mesh cap promises to solve.

I had this exact idea yesterday, reminiscent of the popular 39 drops of solder anecdote about Rockefeller. Like most of my good ideas, someone has beaten me to it by a few years. It’s criminal that these aren’t required on every gas pump in the country.

Remembering Big Ed

Author/illustrator David Weitzman included Ed as an apparent easter egg in his book “Superpower”, and later dedicated “A Subway for New York” to him too.

“Big” Ed Rutsch was a close family friend, an accomplished archaeologist, a storyteller, and a giant in both stature and personality. He died twelve years ago today.

I was in my early twenties, and not mature enough then to fully appreciate the impact Big Ed had on the world, and on all of us around him. It’s so obvious to me now though…I can draw a line from Ed, alongside my parents, to much of what I value in life: friendship; humility (but also pride); craftsmanship; an appreciation for hard work and the people that do it.

When he died, a Yahoo Group was setup for his many friends to share their Big Ed stories. Because everyone has a Big Ed story.

A mutual friend, Bill Sandy, also posted his eulogy there—it captures all the things I loved about Ed. I’m sharing it here to archive it (and am slowly archiving the other group messages as well)—I’d hate for it to disappear someday.

Big Ed Rutsch was the ultimate Jersey Boy. When National Geographic needed a story on New Jersey, writer Jim Hartz started out with Ed: “Ed is a Native of New Jersey, an archaeologist dedicated to preserving the structures that embody the history of the industrial revolution in the state. He is a great bear of a man, 300 pounds and more, streetwise with brass knuckles opinions on everything”.

Ed then talked about an industrial stretch of Turnpike skyline and said “This is the place people love to hate, the part of New Jersey that turns so many people off. But this is where you find the real current and juice of the state. I know all the jokes about New Jersey. This place doesn’t have to apologize. New Jersey produces. It hustles. It’s tough.”.

Ed was the kind of Jersey boy that people loved to love. He was hooked into the current of where ever he was, but especially so on places like Chemical Beach, or the great IA tours. Ed was not everybody’s idea of an archaeologist. But, like the Garden State he loved, he did not have to apologize to anybody. He hustled, he was tough.

Over the last 20 years I got to work with Ed at sites throughout New York and New Jersey. He was my boss, landlord, friend & teacher. On one of our first digs together, I reintroduced him to my old friend Patty. Ed was loyal, honest, and straightforward. Ed and his team at HCI routinely planned to lose money on specific projects in need of detailed historic preservation studies. The projects Ed helped reads like a New Jersey travel brochure: Atsion, Whitesbog, Long Pond, Paterson, Cooper Mill, Metlar House, Delaware and Raritan Canal, Morris Canal and Liberty Park to name a few. He also explored less well known places, like Route 3, Route 21, Route 7, Fish House Road and the Dundee Canal.

The discovery of New York’s incredible African Cemetery was due to Ed’s detailed search plan. He never got credit, and he did not care. Although he stood to profit if the cemetery dig continued, he was an early and strong advocate for ending the dig and preserving the site. The Plymouth Rock for American Blacks is how Ed put it. A place as important as the Statue of Liberty is how the city’s expert described it. During the course of the project, Ed’s idea that archaeologists should be paid a living wage led to increased wages statewide.

Ed became famous in the early 1970s, when he was able to stop an interstate that would have been bad for what is now the Great Falls landmark. In the late 1990’s Ed was able to return to work again in his beloved Great Falls Historic District in Paterson. Ed claimed he had simply outlived his opponents.

Because of Ed, we have a better understanding of who we are and where we come from. This knowledge strengthens our efforts, not just in historic preservation. Ed has taught us to have the courage of our convictions. Ed has outlived his opponents bigtime.

Ed was always looking for a “clubhouse”, some comfortable place where all his friends and family could get together and celebrate. This will do nicely.

The Messy Business Of Reinventing Happiness


The Messy Business Of Reinventing Happiness is a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s MagicBand rollout, wherein they endeavored (and, in large part, succeeded) to replace tickets, hotel room keys, credit cards—even airport x-ray machines—for the 17 million people that visit the park every year.

Iger planned to pump nearly $1 billion into this venture, called MyMagic+, a sweeping plan to overhaul the digital infrastructure of Disney’s theme parks, which would upend how they operated and connected with consumers. At the core of the project was the MagicBand, an electronic wristband that Iger envisioned guests would use to gain entry to Disney World and access attractions; make purchases at restaurants; and unlock their hotel room doors. It would push the boundaries of experience design and wearable computing, and impact everything from Disney’s retail operations and data-mining capabilities to its hospitality and transportation services.

We just spent a week at Disney World with the kids, and I was really impressed with the MagicBand experience. Everything just works—sometimes too well: frictionless payments-on-your-wrist paired with Disney’s infamous merchandizing prowess ($12 balloons!)…my bank account never stood a chance.

Yahoo Pipes To Be Shuttered


Yahoo Pipes To Be Shuttered:

As of August 30th 2015, users will no longer be able to create new Pipes. The Pipes team will keep the infrastructure running until end of September 30th 2015 in a read-only mode.

Sad, but not unexpected—Pipes is a quirky product, and from the beginning it felt destined to be short-lived. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did, especially given Mayer-era Yahoo hasn’t been shy about sunsetting services. Still, it was an endlessly useful tool for some of us jack-of-all-trades digital media nerds.

Glass Reflections in Pictures = More Accurate Location


Glass Reflections in Pictures = More Accurate Location:

Clear and simple: the reflected images in pictures might disclose information that you wouldn’t be willing to share, such as your location or other personal details. If you don’t want to disclose your location, eliminate reflections by choosing a better angle or simply turning off all of the lights inside the room (including the TV) before taking the picture.

Dot-sucks sucks: ICANN urged to kill “shakedown”


Dot-sucks sucks: ICANN urged to kill “shakedown”:

Under the “sunrise” rollout, which dot-sucks registry Vox Populi is obliged to carry out, trademark holders are given first rights to buy domains with their trademarks in. Typically, this costs companies the usual registration fee plus an additional sunrise charge that ranges from $15 to several hundred dollars.

Dot-sucks however intend to charge $2,500 for such names and has also put a list of similar names under a “premium name” program that would see companies have to pay $2,500 per year to get hold of their brand names, even if they don’t opt to register it during the special sunrise period. What’s more, the company intends to charge ordinary consumers just $9.95 for a dot-sucks domain.


Where Don Draper ends, D.B. Cooper begins


Where Don Draper ends, D.B. Cooper begins:

I missed this when it originally made the rounds: Lindsey Green suggests that Mad Men’s conclusion may mimic the real-life story of D.B. Cooper, a Draper-esque gentleman who hijacked a plane in 1971 for $200k ransom, and then parachuted out never to be seen again (or even be definitively identified, for that matter).

It’s a fun read, and would make a fitting ending for Don as a character—except, I don’t think he’s motivated enough by money to do it for ransom, and there are less conspicuous ways to disappear (which he’s been able to do once already, by the way).

Meerkat Roulette

With all the hubbub over Meerkat the past couple of weeks, I thought for sure that someone would have beaten me to this already.

Introducing, Meerkat Roulette.

I’m using Twitter’s search API to grab recent tweets containing “” and cycling through them randomly. You’ll probably see some repeats because of Twitter’s rate limiting, and also a lot of streams that are already over. I probably won’t fix that because I’ve already spent too much time on this stupid idea.

And since it’s the breakout app! at SXSW this year, I added a filter to only include streams tagged #sxsw. This one gets much more interesting at night :)

Have fun!