Category Archives: Tech

My new genes part I – Ancestry

Well, they are not exactly new, however I have learned a lot of new information about my ancestry after getting my DNA test results from 23andMe.

My maternal haplogroup is W*. Passed on from my mother to me and my sister Cindy, and then to her two daughters Devon and Tara.

Wilma, the first member of the W haplogroup, was born between 49,000 and 26,800 years ago in what is now northwest India or northern Pakistan. Wilma’s descendants entered Europe through the Balkans, spreading in several directions. One lineage…settled in what is now France. Descendants of a woman … spread from Central through Northern Europe and then to the British Isles. Lineages with very little change from their Wilman ancestor settled in sparsely-populated Finland and Scandinavia. But everywhere in Europe there were also other W lineages that shared ancestors with cousins still living in India, Pakistan, and Iran. view source

My paternal haplogroup is R1a1a* from my Dad’s Y chromosome passed onto my brothers. David’s son, Jackson, has this haplogroup, and will pass it along with the surname, Cardinal, should he have a son. Dad’s brothers also have this haplogroup.

This haplogroup is believed to have arisen around 26,800 years ago, somewhere in Central Asia or South Asia. The R haplogroup is common throughout Europe and western Asia and the Indian sub-continent, and in those whose ancestry is from within these regions. It also occurs in North and Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s typical in populations of Eastern Europe and parts of Central Europe. R1a has a significant presence in Northern Europe, South and Central Asia, as well as Siberia. R1a can be found in low frequencies in the Middle East. The Modern “Out of Africa theory” ties in with R1a1 that it “could have found his way initially from India or Pakistan, through Kashmir, then via Central Asia and Russia, before finally coming to Europe”…”as part of an archaeologically dated Paleolithic movement from east to west 30,000 years ago.” view source

My father’s maternal haplogroup is T1a. Passed on from my paternal grandmother. Each of Dad’s sister’s (my Aunt Joan, Rene, Carolyn and Ann) carry this maternal haplogroup, as do their daughters (my cousins – too many to name).

If you’ve read the Seven Daughters of Eve, (thanks Mom!) your clan mother is Tara. The cluster is thought to have originated in Mesopotamia/the Fertile Crescent approximately 10,000-12,000 years ago, and then moved northwest into Europe and east as far as modern Pakistan and India. view source

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Airship Adventure

Crossing

My various jobs have taken me to a lot of cool places. LivePlanet sent me to Sundance for three days. Razorfish sent me to Las Vegas two nights.  23andMe,  sent me to the skies, for a slow ride 1000 feet in the air above Silicon valley upon Airship Ventures 23andMe branded zepplin. How cool! My favorite part  about the whole thing is that the windows actually open and you can stick your head (or your camera) out. Thanks 23andMe!

I’ll Keep the Change

Yesterday, while I was writing my post about national debt, my brother called. He’s a conservative Republican. We couldn’t be more different politically and our conversations lately always lead to politics. Without even thinking of it, within minutes, we were both on the White House web site, downloading  summary of Obama’s FY2010 budget.

In my whole life I have NEVER actually looked at the federal budget, or even really thought about it too much.

Obama is the first president who is committed to using modern tools to promote information transparency. The site is great looking, useful and easy-to-use, designed to keep us connected and informed. On the most basic level this change inspires confidence. We’re busy people — we don’t have a lot of time to hunt down infomation —  easy access to the facts promotes informed discussions. Thanks President Obama!

whitehouse.gov screenshot

… on 10 Tools For Managing a Creative Environment

The Web 2.0 Expo keynote presented by Bryan Mason, COO and Sarah Nelson, Design Analyst from Adaptive Path, connected their experiences as professionals in the arts with their other role as experience designers for clients in an agency setting. Mason began his career in the stage arts and Nelson is a classically trained, lifelong violin player.

They gained insights from the processes and organizational structures of various creative entities such as the highly structured restaurant kitchen, and the theater experience, “Too Much Light makes the Baby go Blind” written and performed by Chicago’s Neo Futurists .

As a creative professional in a dynamic agency setting, it is thrilling to see a project go from initial seeds of an idea, to a fully formed product. However getting through the process can be intense, complex, and challenging. Ultimate success relies on a certain set of constantly changing rules, circumstances, and resources.

By dissecting other successful creation models, and applying the analysis to their current business model, Adaptive Path is saying: We don’t know it all. We can be better. We can be different. We’re always learning.

Adaptive Path’s work environment seems like one that supports and fosters creativity — and it’s not just about putting your people in a room and asking them to emerge at the end of the day with THE BIG IDEA. It’s about finding activities and processes that will allow that stuff to naturally and smartly emerge.

I want to work in an environment that subscribes to the following points Adaptive Path presented:

  • Cross train the team. Foster empathy – let people see what it’s like for others. Its about cross-pollination, more like a web, not nodes.
  • Rotate creative leadership. Don’t let people get burned out. Let leaders play a support role sometimes.
  • Actively turn the corner. Know when its time to stop brainstorming (where collaboration rules and roles are less important) and start making/producing (roles become more important people need to know what’s expected).
  • Know your roles. Hierarchy streamlines production. Clear sets of responsibility enables communication.
  • Practice as a team. When in execution mode, it’s not time to practice individual skills. The group needs to work things out and trust each other.
  • Make your mission explicit. What’s the creative project you are trying to solve? Develop strong process for making decision. Clarify communications. Increase constraints is counter-intuitive but helps decision making.
  • Kill your darlings softly. Don’t be afraid to let go of good ideas. Put it in Phase 2!
  • Leadership is a service. I love this one!! Its your job to enable others to do their job well.
  • Generate projects around creative interests. This will keep people engaged and give them a sense of ownership.
  • Remember your audience. How many times are decisions made to benefit business needs at the expense of user’s needs are forgotten.
  • Celebrate failure. It’s ok – only by taking risks, can we get to something great.

Adaptive Path – Sign me up!

YOU are the Mobile Device

This week San Francisco hosted the Web 2.0 Expo and I was there for a few days of networking and industry buzz. Here are my highlights:

Best Keynote: 10 Tools For Managing a Creative Environment by Bryan Mason, COO and Sarah Nelson, Design Analyst from Adaptive Path. (See next post for more about this keynote)

Best Keynote Energy: Tim O’Reilly – keynote extraordinaire. His passionate talk even ended with a poem that he read to his father on his deathbed. I didn’t envy the folks that had to follow that! Here’s a video snippet about audacious goals.

Other keynotes I attended:
A Flickr Approach to making Sense of the World by Dan Catts. A technical yet entertaining look at how geomapping works on flickr. Brings up some interesting issues regarding where one neighborhood begins, and another ends. What really are the boundries of Noe Valley, and who sez?

The Next Generation of Tagging: Searching and Discovering a Better User Experience by Kakul Srivastava, Director of Product Management at flickr. Excitement around a community that thrives on tags. All good and well, but as a flickr user, I find it very time consuming to retouch, upload, title, describe and tag hundreds of pictures. When will they make that easier? I’m fantasizing about voice tagging… wouldn’t that be cool?

Best Schwag: Disney Internet Group

Best Booth: Honestly, nothing really stood out, however the booths that served beer and snacks yesterday, definitely deserve high marks!

Best Party: Digg Meetup at Mighty. Not an official event of the Expo, however, free drinks, no cover, Rock Band for all my friends and a live dancing unicorn. How can you top that?

“You can’t go home again.”

Marshall McLuhan was a cultural prophet. I recently re-discovered The Medium is the Massage, written by him and Quentin Fiore.

Back in the late 60’s, McLuhan envisioned how television and electronic media would change our lives. He coined the term “global village”, and wrote about our growing [glowing?] sense of self as “The older, traditional ideas of private, isolated thoughts and actions…are very seriously threatened by new methods of instantaneous electric information retrieval…the one big gossip column that is unforgiving, unforgetful and from which there is no redemption, no erasure of the early mistakes.” Today, newspapers struggle to stay afloat while careers are made and broken in the blogosphere.

Seriously threatened? I’m not sure if all bloggers feel that way, but there is definitely an old guard who feels strongly about guarding their privacy. Some put their digital self [selves] out there – contributing to blogs, publishing photos, creating profiles on Facebook and Myspace, Digging digital ephemera, and commenting like crazy. [I once was Lost and now am Found via Google.] Others cling to their “handle” and their “alias” in an effort to keep their friends, family, professional and other selves private and separate.

I guess I’m somewhere in between. I put my work portfolio online, and that’s perfectly natural to me and an absolute necessity (if I want to keep working). You know, I never really thought I would have a blog. I thought… that’s a thing other people do. I mean, does anyone really [have the time to] care what I have to say, and more importantly, do I want to give up my ‘privacy’ and do something so public as write a blog? Ever since my mom read my my diary when I was 16, I’ve had a fear of writing anything personal. Maybe that’s why I take so many pictures. I used to only upload a highly edited selection of photos to flickr – so as not to give away TMI about me personally. Now, I just put it all up there. Still edited, but not just the nice looking shots. I share pictures of friends, and family, and birthdays and vacations. It’s a chronicle of my life. It is all my self.

Last weekend I saw and saw Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005 at the The Legion of Honor. The show is intersperses her famous people portraits with more mundane family snapshots and very personal shots of her life partner – Susan Sontag – in the various stages of cancer. The collection is a full “photographer’s life,” as Leibovitz says: “I don’t have two lives. This is one life, and the personal pictures and the assignment work are all part of it.”