Monthly Archives: May 2012

Postcards from Studio Ghibli – timeless anime films from Hayao Miyazaki

A set of nine 4×6″ postcards based off 9 Studio Ghibli films. It’s not all of the Ghibli films, just the ones Miyazaki directed and yes technically “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” wasn’t a Studio Ghibli film when released but it has been re-released in the US on dvd as one so I included it.

Films shown: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo

These prints are based off the retro Penguin book cover style.

Size: 4 x 6″
Color: white cover stock
Details: Digital Print
Ships: Flat

via Etsy

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Rick Steves’ Audio Europe – as an iPhone app

This app organizes the vast and varied library of Rick Steves’ audio content into geographic-specific playlists so that travelers can enjoy ready access to the information that relates specifically to their travel plans. Many tracks provide general cultural and sightseeing information gleaned from his public radio program, Travel with Rick Steves. Other tracks are self-guided tours to great sights and historic walks. While we travel there’s lots of down time, and this application can both entertain and teach. Rick Steves Audio Europe will hopefully make your European travels more meaningful and more fun.

Features:

• The app downloads and stores audio files on your device.
• Handy maps (PDF) that complement the self-guided audio tours.
• The audio content originates from Rick Steves guidebooks and the Travel with Rick Steves public radio program.
• Rick Steves Audio Europe is a work in progress. New audio tracks will be added and existing tracks updated as necessary. Be sure to enable Notifications for this app to get the latest updates.

Rick Steves Audio Europe in the iTunes store

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First ever video of the world’s most elusive whale

Scientists on a research voyage in Bass Straight (south of Australia) got an exhilarating surprise when they chanced upon what might be the world’s most mysterious and elusive whale: the Shepherd’s beaked whale. It is believed this is the first time the species has ever been captured on video (shown below).

Since the Shepherd’s beaked whale was first described in 1937, there have been only 3 confirmed sightings of the animal besides this one. Due to its extreme rarity, almost nothing is known about the species. What little is known has mostly been derived from strandings or carcasses that have washed ashore. But just over 40 such strandings have ever been recorded.

Adults of the species can reach lengths of about 20-23 feet and typically weigh about 2.32 to 3.48 tons. They have a dark brown color on their dorsal side but are cream-colored ventrally, and males display a pair of tusks at the tip of the lower jaw.

One of the reasons the whales are so difficult to spot is that they are typically found only in deep, offshore habitats where sighting conditions are rarely ideal (i.e., along the latitudes commonly referred to as the “Roaring 40′s” and “Furious 50′s”). Like other beaked whales within the family Ziphidae, Shepherd’s beaked whales can also dive for long periods– over an hour at a time– and to extreme depths. In fact, most beaked whales dive to such great depths that they must surface slowly to avoid decompression sickness.

All sightings and strandings of the Shepherd’s beaked whales have occurred in waters off New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.

via Animal Planet

 

Shepherd’s beaked whale is listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN Red List given that there is so little known about the marine mammal.

Solar Industry booming with 21% growth – Solar Leasing now has waitlists

Unlike much of the rest of the economy, the solar industry is growing rapidly. New solar installations in California jumped by 21 percent last year. An increasing amount of that growth is from “solar leasing.”

What’s commonly called “solar leasing” is now the most popular way for homeowners to install solar electricity.

A solar company installs the panels for the customer for free or for a minimal cost. Then it sells the consumer the electricity for about 10 percent less than local utility rates.

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, “before solar was more designed to those who could afford a large upfront cost of $20,000 to $25,000. Now the average person can go solar and just start saving money, there’s no investment.”

Rive says the option is so popular that in some markets his company has a waiting list of 4 to 6 months.

via Capital Public Radio

 

// Photo – Heritage Solar

Facebook Programming Challenge – solve a challenge, get a phone interview

 

How does this work?

Take the timed challenge. If your code passes the test, you will be contacted for a telephone interview. If your code is too similar to another applicant, you will both be disqualified, so please don’t share or post your answers online.

What position are these tests for?

These are for various positions in our Software Engineering department. You can check them all out here.

 

Take the Facebook Programming Challenge!

Start-up perks – the standards, impressive ones, & no way that’s amazing

We asked more than a dozen startups (Thrillist, Fab, Tumblr, Jetsetter, StumbleUpon, Asana, Eventbrite, Warby Parker, Rent the Runway, Coloft, ZocDoc, GetGlue, Foursquare, Birchbox, Modcloth, Evernote) what perks they offer and we’ve grouped these perks into three tiers, giving you the sampling of who offers what and why these companies think it wise to spend money on them.

The Standards

  • Free snacks
  • Free coffee
  • Casual dress code
  • Dog-friendly office
  • Ping pong table, pool table, foosball table or basketball hoop.

Wow, That’s Impressive

  • Catered lunch every day.
  • Paid vacation day on your birthday.
  • $100 Uber car credit each month (StumbleUpon) or car service for late nights (Tumblr).
  • A “Fun Committee” to plan company outings, such as ice skating, scavenger hunts.

Really? That’s Amazing

  • Unlimited sick and vacation days, because “we believe in treating everyone like an adult,” says Braley. (Thrillist, ZocDoc, ModCloth, Foursquare).
  • A tab at the local coffee shop, so teammates don’t have to eat the cost of networking (Jetsetter).
  • In-office massages, chiropractor and acupuncture sessions every week (Eventbrite).

Just small selection of the perks from the articleAre These the Best Startup Perks You’ve Ever Seen?

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California creates a science-based series of underwater parks

You normally think of parks as being places to walk or ride around.  But on January 1, 2012, Southern California celebrated the grand opening of a series of underwater parks, or “marine protected areas,” that includes wildlife hot spots such as the La Jolla kelp forest, Laguna tidepools, and Catalina Island coral gardens. These parks will join a growing system that currently dots the shore from Santa Barbara to Mendocino, and will soon stretch the length of California’s coast.

California will be the first state in the nation to develop a science-based statewide network of marine protected areas, protecting productive reefs, kelp forests and tide pools while leaving about 90% of state waters open to fishing. The Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), enacted in 1999 with bipartisan support, called for this network of protections to improve the health of California’s ocean wildlife and habitats.

“After decades of treating the ocean as inexhaustible, California has turned the tide towards restoring its legacy of abundant sea life,” said Kaitilin Gaffney, Pacific Program Director of Ocean Conservancy. “California’s new protected areas are a smart investment in a healthier ocean and a more sustainable coastal economy.”

Coastal tourism and recreation are a major economic engine for California. A recent study showed over 90 percent of coastal recreation in southern California involves beach-going, diving, wildlife watching, surfing and other activities that will benefit from healthier oceans.  According to the National Ocean Economics Program, California’s coast and ocean generate $22 billion in revenue and drive over 350,000 jobs each year.

via Designing Healthy Communities

 

The Story of California’s MLPA’s

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Walkability raises housing value by $4,000 – $34,000

Can you walk to stores, schools and a park from your home? If so, your house or condo may be worth substantially more than those in more isolated, pedestrian-hostile neighborhoods.

That’s the finding of “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities,” a study by Joseph Cortright that analyzed data from 94,000 real estate transactions in 15 major markets provided by ZipRealty and found that in 13 of the 15 markets, higher levels of walkability, as measured by Walk Score, were directly linked to higher home value.

The report found, in short, that walkability is more than just a pleasant amenity. Homes located in more walkable neighborhoods—those with a mix of common daily shopping and social destinations within a short distance—command a price premium over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas. Houses with the above-average levels of walkability command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just average levels of walkability in the typical metropolitan areas studied.

via Designing Healthy Communities

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Silicon Valley to get its own airline – SurfAir

A new airline, SurfAir, has emerged to serve entrepreneurs, executives, and Venture Capitalists, who travel frequently throughout the state of California.

…the US infrastructure has billions of dollars that is hardly used, so much infrastructure that Michael Flint said he could have us landing on a runway within 20 minutes, in case of an emergency with my mom. I later learned that about half of America’s airports operate at less than 10% capacity, and those are mainly the municipal airports, such as Palo Alto Airport in Silicon Valley.

SurfAir grew quickly and is already launching its beta this month. It’s starting with six destinations. 500 people were selected to participate. It’s a subscription model, just like Netflix. For less than $1000 per month, members can fly multiple trips between California destinations on a private Pilatus 8-seater aircraft. Passengers drive right up to the aircraft, where a valet parks their car and takes their luggage. They’re all pre-screened, so all they have to do is board the aircraft, and they’re at their destination within an hour with a car waiting for them as they exit the plane.

via Pando Daily

 

 

The airline will have (planned) service to – Palo Alto, Monterey, Santa Barbara, & Los Angeles – and it looks to be big hit:

 

When we originally interviewed SurfAir CEO Wade Eyerly last March, he indicated the company was seeking about $2 million. But over the past couple of days we’ve gotten unsolicited calls from investors, who wish to remain anonymous at this point, who have told us that there was so much demand that the company has raised nearly $14 million.

via - SurfAir’s 1st Round of Funding “Oversubscribed”