Wednesday, May 30, 2012

La Vie en Bleu Report 2012

This Weekend the Bugatti Owners Club ran their annual La Vie en Bleu event, filling the hill with all things French including Can Can dancers and accordion players. I attended on the Sunday with a brie and grape sandwich to sketch some French modes of transport.

Bugatti (ink sketch)

 Velo Solex 
(digitally painted ink sketch)

Having sketched a Cymota earlier in the year I grabbed the chance to sketch the French original.

Renault 17 Gordini
(digitally painted ink sketch)

1955 Renault Frigate
(digitally painted ink sketch)

At this time French car makers were making a lot of cars under licence in an American style. The Frigate was on the market as the same time as the DS and so sales suffered. THis is the only one running in the country, it is in a way an ugly design but there is something about that, that caught my eye enough to get the sketchbook out.

Citroën Ami 6 Club estate
(digitally painted ink sketch) 

This was a very strange car to sketch I'm not sure what it was about it but it definitely threw me and some of the perspective has gone way off but I still like this piece in a weird way. 

Bugatti 57c
 An extremely beautiful car, the lines on this version are very elegant, especially at the back.

 1909 Leon Peugeot Voiturette Racer

I've been waiting a long time to see this car as sketched it from photographs a while back. It was taken up the hill on the Saturday and I wish I'd been there to see it. The massive single cylinder must sound incredible.

I tried sketching this Amilcar twice and it kept going up the hill every time  so heres a couple of photos.

 Panhard Levassor 
 GN, V8 J.A.P.
This was the first time I've seen this, other than the plethora of photographs on the internet. This build is so well put together all the little details make it very convincing as an original.

 GN Racer

 GN Racer engine closeup


1983 "A" Citroen LNA
One lady owner till 2010 57k miles £495 plus road fund licence. Described as a "Bargin" I'm tempted to agree.

 There were a few Citroen DS's at the event always a pleasure to see.

La Vie en Bleu was yet another great day out at Prescott, there are still plenty of events still to run this year, at the home of the Bugatti Owners Club and I urge you to take the time to visit. Please go the Bugatti Owners Club website for more information on upcoming events:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Maybe I am too eager to believe it, and...

..I expect to be smote down for saying it, but I think the two month old, mediocre, Case-Shiller number that came out today is consistent with the idea that the housing market will really come back big this year (I said so in the paper and on the radio today, so I might as well say it here).

Inventories in many hard hit markets are now low by historical standards.  Time on market has fallen.  HARP II can accelerate amortization (which is its most important feature).  Prices are really cheap, both when the user cost they produce is compared with rent, and when compared with incomes (by World standards).

My Little Lovey...

... is here!!  He was born last Monday (May 21st) in the afternoon and weighed 7 lbs 8 oz.

{There is no better feeling on this Earth than the moment when you first hold your baby}

...And here he is all cleaned up and in his nightie:

His name is Luke David & we are so in love with him.

 {Here he is with his Daddy- David.  We've barely put him down all week.}

Anyway, I just wanted to share our news with you & hope you're having a great week!  I'm not sure when I'll be back in -  I'm really trying to devote all of my attention to the family right now- but when I am I've got lots to share on what we've been doing around here. :)

And a note on the exhaustion/ coping level-  I have to say that with my husband home for 1 more week, we're doing pretty well.  Life with 3 boys is DEFINITELY an adjustment but so far, so good.  Right now, we're tag-teaming & it's really manageable but I'm a little nervous about when real life & work picks up & we're not only focusing on the family & life at home.  I'm trying not to think about it right now & to just recup & relax...  On that note, I'm also sooooo excited to get to work out again.  I gained 60 (!) pounds so I'm ready to RUNNNNN... :)  (I gained 60 with each of my other pregnancies too =  FUN.  not.) 

ok, I'm off.  Have missed you all!!

xoxo, Lauren
If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Monday, May 28, 2012

How Bad is Fructose? David Despain Interviews Dr. John Sievenpiper

In my article "Is Sugar Fattening?", I discussed a recent review paper on fructose, by Dr. John Sievenpiper and colleagues (1).  It was the most recent of several review papers to conclude that fructose is probably not inherently fattening in humans, but that it can be fattening if it's consumed to excess, due to the added calories.  Dr. Sievenpiper and colleagues have also written other papers addressing the metabolic effects of fructose, which appear to be fairly minor unless it's consumed to excess (2, 3, 4, 5).  The senior author on these studies is Dr. David Jenkins at McMaster University.  David Despain, a science and health writer who publishes a nice blog called Evolving Health, recently interviewed Dr. Sievenpiper about his work.

It's an interesting interview and very timely, due to the recent attention paid to fructose in the popular media. This has mostly been driven by a couple of high-profile individuals-- an issue they discuss in the interview.  The interview, recent papers, and sessions at scientific conferences are part of an effort by researchers to push back against some of the less well founded claims that have received widespread attention lately.

Read more »

New free weather app

A few weeks ago I was approached by a local web developer with an offer of an alternative front end to my existing weather data service. He needed a simple solution that would fit well with the website design concept for one of the clients and my existing three different versions of the weather app did not quite meet his specification. In a quid pro quo arrangement, I ended up with a new weather app to share with the rest of the world while the client gets the benefit of a tailor-made weather information widget for the newly developed site.

So, here it is - I am officially unveiling weather app v4 for your perusal.

Default setting is for Sydney but you can easily change location by adding a city code at the end the URL link. For example, for Canberra the full address is like this:

Full instructions on how to set up this weather app on your site and a list of city codes are available on free widgets page.

My free weather widgets are quite popular, generating over 1 million page views per month (250,000+ visits). Not surprisingly, also getting some attention from mobile users (almost 10,000 visits in the last 30 days).

This latest arrangement gave me an idea - maybe there would be other web developers interested in designing their own versions of weather app? Hence, I am inviting all interested parties to have a go at creating alternative weather widgets with my data. I will provide a sample code and a copy of the database tables to get you started. Only two conditions – the app has to be hosted on and it has to have a link to the site. Keep me posted if you are interested!

Related posts:
Weather widget take 3
Free Australian weather widget
Weather widgets via Google Gadgets
Weather on Google Map
Weather maps for winter resorts
Hazmon weather map

Friday, May 25, 2012

State growth and the composition of spending

Paul Krugman rightly calls out Arthur Laffer's junk economics on the impact of state and local taxes on economic growth (I have no idea about why anyone listens to Laffer about anything, but that is for another day).  At the same time, however, a good, liberal friend of mine told  me yesterday that for the first time in his life, he will vote against a tax increase in California--the temporary tax increase proposed by Jerry Brown that will be on the ballot on November 6.

My friend has no issue with government spending per se; his problem is that he gets to observe the doings in Sacramento quite closely, and as he puts it, "it is even worse than you think up there."

California's state and local governments spend a lot of money.  We ranked 4th in 2010 among the 50 states in per capita state and local spending.     Yet if one looks at education spending, we are only average.  Even worse (from the standpoint of my parochial pride, anyway), we trail Texas in education spending per capita.

My understanding is that once upon a time, California had among the most efficient and accountable governments in the country.  The public schools were a particular source of pride.  But the vast amounts of money are not being well managed now--such mismanagement is harmful whether it occurs in the public or private sector.  How well government money is spent may be just as important as how much money is spent.

Isabelle - Rue Tiquetonne - Paris

hebergeur image
    Isabelle - Infographist - Rue Tiquetonne - Paris
    and (R) Elvis (L) Mooglie (C) Dolfie - French Bulldogs
    Photo by Easy Fashion Fred

Cecilia - Rue Tiquetonne - Paris

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    Cecilia - Rue Tiquetonne - Paris
    Sales assistant at Kokon To Zai Shop
    Photos by Easy Fashion Fred
hebergeur image

Anne-Catherine - Les Tuileries - Paris

hebergeur image
    Anne-Catherine - Les Tuileries - Paris
    Photo by Easy Fashion Fred

Spectral Girl - FW - Paris

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     Spectral Girl - Fashion Week - Paris
     Photo by Easy Fashion Fred

Miroslava Duma - Les Tuileries - Paris

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    Miroslava Duma - Les Tuileries - Paris
    Photo by Easy Fashion Fred

Marianne - Hôtel de Ville - Paris

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     Marianne of Style Devil - Hôtel de Ville - Paris
     Photos by Easy Fashion Fred hebergeur image

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hannah Green:What is the purpose of protesting? - The Daily Northwestern - Northwestern University

She writes:

As we took the Red Line back from the protest, I continued to have mixed feelings about it. I thought that the rally especially had been too disorganized and too angry. I thought that Salek was making fun of me when he said that a protest wasn’t the same thing as an academic forum (He later told me that he wasn’t). A rally isn’t meant to convince people of anything, he said, but to get people who were already convinced energized. He said that there wasn’t enough time during the rally for all those with important issues to completely clarify their positions subtlety. There had been forums and discussions earlier in the week for that.

I then became nostalgic for a time that I had never lived in. I thought of protests from the ’60s and ’70s that I’d heard about. Protesters were convincing because they made their cases by showing their humanity rather than their anger. But this is a different kind of protest, Salek said. There was a wider variety of problems on the table. Part of the point was to just make people aware of the diversity of the issues and stake, and, yes, to give people a place to (peacefully) channel their anger. That’s how a movement can gain its momentum.

Omit needless words...

My dear friend Steve Malpezzi on John Quigley

He writes:

I first encountered Professor Quigley through his research; later, we connected through our mutual friend the late Steve Mayo. I was honored to count John as a friend, but he was also a professional and scholarly inspiration to me, and to many, many others. Professor Quigley was an active researcher and teacher for over four decades; a long career by some standards, but he left those of us who knew him, and his work, wishing we could have had a fifth, if not a sixth.

In the history of the allied fields of urban economics, real estate economics and finance, after the original generation of William Alonso, Richard Muth, Edwin Mills and John Kain, John Quigley shaped our field like no one else. The breadth of his contributions, in urban, housing, public finance, finance, and many other fields, is breathtaking.

I’m not alone in that judgment, and those of us that hold it can easily show that it’s not simply sentiment for a passed friend. Many colleagues share my high opinion of John Quigley, and have said so, unbidden, for years, long before his illness. Several years ago, for fun, I asked six PhD students to write down the name of the person who, according to their study, all-in, made the greatest contributions to our field. (I told them they couldn’t name anyone from Wisconsin, but of course that was to save face :-).

Five wrote “Quigley.” Well, it wasn’t all six, but I’m not going to stretch the truth for the sake of the story!
Read the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Festival of Slowth Report 2012

The Welsh hills were alive with the sound of cycle cars this weekend at the Festival of Slowth. I was very kindy invited along with my sketchbook to see what I could find. I'd like to thank all those that organised the event and played perfect hosts to all in attendance.

(digitally painted ink sketch)

Indian Scout
(ink sketch)
This Indian Scout is soon to be crossing America. Good Luck Ian.

GN front end
(ink sketch)

(ink sketch)

 Prop Power

 Two Cardons and a Morgan

 Morgan Grand Prix

 Off for a spin.


 Success of the weekend was Adrian Wards Chater Lea, up and running on the Saturday for the first time in years. Well done fettlers!

 Housing a Blackburn V Twin this cowling is definitely minimal with great style.
As you can see there were a lot of lovely details on this car.

 Morgan Aero, GN, Humber


 Tim Gunn's fantastic Grafton Cycle Car alongside the Bleriot Whippet.

Tim runs the wonderful Old Bicycle Company so please visit his site for all your old bicycle needs:

 A lovely early racer leaning against the in house petrol pump.

The Bugatti Owners club are celebrating everything French at Prescott this coming weekend 
with the La Vie en Bleu festival. The weather looks good and the sketchbook will be out once again. For more information on this event please follow this link:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Recently, Chris Kresser published a series on dietary salt (sodium chloride) and health (1).  One of the issues he covered is the effect of salt on blood pressure.  Most studies have shown a relatively weak relationship between salt intake and blood pressure.  My position overall is that we're currently eating a lot more salt than at almost any point in our evolutionary history as a species, so I tend to favor a moderately low salt intake.  However, there may be more important factors than salt when it comes to blood pressure, at least in the short term. 

Read more »

Dirt Quake at Brandon Stadium 2012

Brandon Stadium was built in 1948 and is well know as a Speedway and Stock Car track, but on Saturday the 19th May Sidburn Magazine took it over and invited anyone brave enough to ride the very wet track. People turned up with anything from a scooter to a custom chopper to slide their way round. The track car was a giant pie which I thought was a good old British touch.

For more on Sideburn Magazine please visit their website and treat yourself to the latest issue:

Dimitri Coste bought along his fantastic BSA B50mx short tracker.

(digitally painted ink sketch)

Mud Caked Yammaha
(digitally painted ink sketch)

 J.A.P. Speedway Bike

(digitally painted ink sketch)

Triumph 350 Rat Bobber

(digitally painted ink sketch)

Here's some more snaps from the event. Unfortunately my lens was not big enough to catch the real action. For more track photos why not visit the events Facebook page:

Yes it was this sort of lunacy that went on.

Low Brow Customs not only displayed their creations they even took them out on the track. 
For more on Lowbrow please visit their website:

 BSA Trials
There was a good group of J.A.P. Speedway bike in attendance, but even these hardened riders said the conditions were too wet.

 More Mud

 Harley Dirt Track Bike

Triumph Bobber

 Harley Shovelhead with Sportster tank.