Thursday, December 26, 2013

Looking back at 2013, with pointers to 2014

I wrote a prediction post a year ago so I'm going to review and update it. Here's last year in full "Looking back at 2012, with pointers to 2013" .

The headlines from last year, with comments and updates:

Mobile Bandwidth Greater than Fixed Bandwidth
This trend continues. LTE can get congested in cities, but the latest news is Verizon upgrading it's network to have more capacity and speeds up to 100Mbit/s. I'm about to get an LTE MiFi for our house so that when we want higher speed or our local DSL gets congested, it's available, and when we go away we can take it with us. I'll keep the DSL for background connectivity, and to avoid hitting the MiFi bandwidth cap too much.

Cutting The Cable/Satellite TV Feed

We still don't have cable/satellite. I got a Google Chromecast, but it's slow and fiddly to use compared to the AppleTV, and buggy for streaming Pandora, keeps dropping the stream. The picture quality is good though.

The Netflix Open Source Cloud Platform Got Traction

We close out 2013 with 39 distinct projects at, a successful Netflix Cloud Prize contest, endorsements from many more companies including IBM, and growing acceptance that Cloud Native is an important concept that supports highly agile continuous delivery, and NetflixOSS is an onramp that accelerates transitioning to Cloud Native.

Netflix Cloud Architecture Presentations

I presented even more than in 2012, see the slides I posted at I've also got a permanent link to a full set of workshop slides at which is easier to remember, and lets me update the workshop slides from time to time.

The Concept of Anti-Fragility Took Off

Taleb's book and concept became more accepted. Ariel Tseitlin wrote an ACM paper for Netflix on The Antifragile Organization.

Cloud, Open Source, SaaS and the End of Enterprise Computing

"During 2013 we will see if Google manages to invest heavily and execute well enough to build up a big user base."
Google came out of beta and closed some gaps, but it's not clear that they are building up a big user base. They have their fans, and in some areas have some technical advantages, but still have a lot to prove. Other public cloud vendors didn't make much headway. Microsoft Azure remains strong in it's own ecosystem, but hasn't broken out into general use, and others are getting further behind or being bought.

"I personally think in 2014 we will likely see [...] the scale, features and price point of AWS and Google clouds make everyone else irrelevant." I still think this is true. The 2013 Garner Magic Quadrant for IaaS didn't include Google as they were in beta, but showed AWS as dominant. It also included an estimate that AWS delivered capacity was five times bigger than the next 14 vendors combined. i.e. AWS was 85% of the market by delivered capacity (not by $ revenue). My tracking of AWS size by looking at their reserved IP address space continues to show that AWS is doubling in size every year, and has grown 10x over the last three years, reaching 5.1 million IP addresses in September 2013.

Most big enterprise companies are actively working on their AWS rollout now. Most of them are also trying to get an in-house cloud to work, with varying amounts of success, but even the best private clouds are still years behind the feature set of public clouds, which is has a big impact on the agility and speed of product development.

Solar Powered Electric Cars Are For Real Now

Our Nissan Leaf is getting towards the end of it's three year lease, and we're replacing it with a Fiat 500e. The Fiat is smaller and lighter, but has the same size battery, so gets a bit more range. It's also cheaper and more fun to drive. During 2013 a lot of people bought Tesla Model S, including people who traded in Tesla Roadsters. We picked up a second hand 2010 Tesla Roadster with full factory warranty, and although the technology is a bit older, it's a great fun car with over 200 miles real world range for longer trips. Even with two electric cars, we still generated more electricity than we used this year, so the marginal cost of energy is still zero for our household and our gasoline spend is way down.

Global Warming Arrived in the USA in 2012

"I'm going to try and re-balance my 401K retirement accounts to divest from oil companies. Many students are nowpressuring their colleges to divest from oil as well." I spent a few hours on Fidelity Investments web site and reduced my investments in the energy sector to a minimum. The divestment movement is also gathering momentum. The public conversation continues to shift, more extreme weather in the US and worldwide is helping, and the IPCC released an updated report.

Twitter and Snapchat

I had 6,500 followers on Twitter at the end of 2012, and I have 10,500 at the end of 2013. I correctly predicted that Snapchat would continue to grow in 2013, and it was reported that more photos are uploaded per day into Snapchat than into Facebook. Twitter had it's IPO, and is becoming part of the news and entertainment infrastructure with it's own ecosystem. I think they will figure out how to continue to grow and make money, so I bought a few shares to have skin in the game.

New for 2014:

Google Glass will have a successful public launch

I got Glass last summer, and have been using it a bit and letting other people try it a lot. I just got a hardware update that makes my developer set compatible with the final consumer version, and it's clear that Google is getting much closer to having a real product to launch. No-one knows the price, and that will determine how widely people get Glass, but the feature set and support is now quite interesting. There is a generational divide, in that many younger people like and want Glass, and older people are more wary or bothered by it. Trying it out in person lets people understand what it does and doesn't do, and greatly increases acceptance.

The Glass features that I was waiting for have mostly been addressed. The MyGlass app now supports iPhone, there is support for corporate Gmail accounts and multiple Gmail accounts on a single Glass. There is a headphone to supplement the built in speaker that was too quiet, and there will soon be prescription lens support. The last of those is the main reason I don't wear Glass every day, as I have to put in contact lenses to use it currently, and my contacts don't work as well as my glasses.

The ability to get personal GPS directions while walking (or cycling) is one of my favorite features. "First person" hangout support has huge potential although it's still too fiddly to setup, and needs good network bandwidth. Video use drains the battery quickly, although in normal use it lasts long enough to be useful all day. The add-on applications I have installed include Twitter, so I get notified immediately if someone mentions or DMs me; Evernote for keeping track of shared to-do lists; and Translate where you look at a sign and it makes an English version of the sign for you.

Voice control works better than most people expect, directions to local places is remarkably good, but voice input dictation is very random. It needs quite a lot of practice to get messages recorded that contain more than "on my way" or other simple phrases. But then I don't use Siri on my iPhone either.

Best wishes to everyone for 2014.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Velocity and Volume - Speed Wins - Keynote at Flowcon

November 1st was the first ever Flowcon, held in San Francisco, a new event to focus on continuous delivery related development topics.

I was honored to be asked to present as the opening keynote speaker, and I owe a big thank you to Jez Humble and Gene Kim for the invitation.

The material I presented was less focused on Netflix related technologies than most of my talks, and instead looks at the challenges and motivations of speeding up the page of development. I also tried to provide a historical perspective of how the state of the art for software delivery has changed over the last few decades.

There was a second chance to present these slides with a bit more time a few days later, and the slides for that are linked below. There's a bit more of an introduction, and a more discussion of tools on the end, but it's basically the same message.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Free Communication is Disrupting Hierarchies

Jeff Jarvis recently blogged:
I doubt the net’s creators realized how subversive it was to connect anyone to anyone, bypassing the institutions that mediated those connections: from media to government, universities to retailers. These institutions are now circling wagons to protect their prerogatives: copyright for media, secrecy for government.

Somewhat related discussions are taking place at the Defrag conference and on blogs talking about corporate organizations and government surveillance.

However this is nothing new, over centuries there has been a gradual reduction in the cost of communication between people, which has caused social changes, disrupted old industries, created new industries and led to political revolutions. The end point that we have reached in the last few years is that the cost of communication is now zero. There is no incremental cost for me to send a tweet that is delivered to thousands of people a few seconds later. If the tweet contains novel ideas or information that people want to share, then in a few seconds, millions of people could see it. With about 10,000 direct followers my own twitter mention reach was in the millions last week.

When I see an industry or organization that was built on assumptions that are no longer true, I expect to see disruption follow, and opportunities to create new industries and organizations. The assumption that communication is expensive is baked into our world. The new industries and organizations that take advantage of this change are emerging now.

To see how subversive this is, we need to look at some history. Every step in the reduction of communication cost has enabled changes that have been resisted by the hierarchy, led to revolutions, and in most cases have been co-opted and controlled by the elite.

The ability to control, coordinate and influence a large group of people depends upon effective communication. Early examples include the creation of sea-going ships and roads to sustain empires, from the Romans to the British Empire as examples. The leaders of these empires could gather information via messengers and send out decrees to manage at a distance, by using a coordinated hierarchical communication network. The cost of communication for the workers was prohibitive, so all information trickled down through the local authorities, whether civil, military or religious. The only low cost communication took place within the local village.

Most workers were illiterate, and taking England in the middle ages as an example, a series of disruptions were caused by the invention of the printing press. The loss of control that resulted caused major problems for authorities, and allowed ideas to spread in new ways.

As cities got bigger, local communication got faster, newsletters and newspapers started to spread ideas more quickly and the creation of postal services brought the cost of peer to peer communication down far enough that everyone could communicate over larger distances. Governments co-opted these new mechanisms, regulating the news, running the postal services. The industrial revolution created commercial entities with their own hierarchies of control and communication. The ability of ideas to spread rapidly and reach many people allowed groups to self-organize, leading to political upheaval. Revolution was enabled by the ability to spread ideas outside the incumbent ruler's hierarchy of communication and control.

Today we live in societies where effectively everyone is literate, connected and mobile. However we still have the same hierarchical institutions that were developed hundreds of years ago. Governments to manage the hierarchies of society, Companies to manage the hierarchies of commerce, Religions to manage the hierarchies of belief, Universities to manage the hierarchies of education.

These hierarchies still have value, they continue to represent ownership and have responsibilities but they no longer have control. They were sustained in the past by imposing their will on people, and carefully managed what information people are exposed to. The hierarchies are now very large and deeply nested, so rather than a small ruling elite and a large peasant population, there are very many levels in the middle, which makes many of us have a vested interest in the continuation of parts of the hierarchies.

We are now all connected by a series of relatively flat peer to peer networks. Facebook for a curated network of family, friends and interest groups, twitter for real-time news and a much more dense ad-hoc interconnection of interests, email for direct communication, and many other services. The "Arab Spring", the "Occupy Movement" and other recent political revolutions were able to find and coordinate large numbers of people extremely rapidly (hours or days) without forming a hierarchy first.

The new world is a blend of hierarchies with many peer to peer links that reach across and between the old hierarchies. The problem for the elite leaders is that they are used to having control, owning the flow of information and managing deeply nested organizations. In this new world, the leaders have ownership, responsibility, influence but much less control, they control and manage a small part of the flow of information, and their organizations are flatter and less well defined. At the extreme there are organizations like Github, which are figuring out how to make an emergent self organizing structure work. To scale a flat organization there needs to be a very strong sense of culture and unity of purpose. I think Netflix has found a productive balance between a hierarchy of responsibility for aspects of the business and freedom at each level to self organize the delivery of what the business needs. Broad and open communication across the business, and many skip-level one-on-one meetings flattens the organization and minimizes "politics".

Looking beyond business, Religion only really works if you don't think too hard about any other variant of religion. Religions all claim to be true, but claim different incompatible and incoherent things, so that exposure to ideas such as the Outsider Test for Faith causes deep problems for the faithful. Religion in general is being disrupted by science and free communication, and polarization into atheism and reactionary fundamentalism is one of the outcomes in society.

Education is based on the communication of skills and information from teachers to students, and the big institutions of education are being disrupted. They no longer control the flow of education, and the costs are increasing beyond the ability of the students to repay them, so companies like Coursera and the Khan Academy are building alternatives. For software developers, the body of code you own and contributed to on github matters far more than where (or even if) you studied. The state of the art isn't being created and taught in University research departments any more, the commercial ecosystems that form around technologies are where the bleeding edge of innovation is being disseminated to new recruits.

These disruptions are on the way, but change tends to occur rapidly when a tipping point is reached rather than gradually. A point made by Nicholas Taleb in his discussion of Black Swan events, is that its easier to point out that a change could happen and plan for what to do next, than to predict when exactly it will come. So like a cartoon Wily Coyote who has run off a cliff, we ignore the change until we look down and realize that nothing is holding us up.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Performance Testing of NetflixOSS for the Cloud Prize

Where is everyone? I've been writing blogging and tweeting about performance and capacity planning for many years, so I thought I was connected to one or two performance folks....

When we setup the NetflixOSS cloud prize I created a category just for you:

Best Contribution to Performance Improvements
New performance testing tools, results of performance tests and performance oriented bugs. Since this may be aggregated across many pull requests, they should be listed and documented in the Submission.

While there are some interesting contestants in other categories, I've seen very little activity in this one.

There's $10K cash and $5K of AWS credits waiting for someone to do enough work to claim them!

It takes a bit of resource to run tests, so I also have a $100 AWS gift card that I will pass on to the first person to make an entry in this category, regardless of whether they win the prize or have generated any useful data at that point. Make a valid submission to the Cloud Prize by forking the github repo, editing the file to describe your entry, entering your details (email/address etc) in the Mailchimp form, and then post a comment here claiming the $100 AWS card, and I'll mail it to you.

After the first one, if you make a case for having generated lots of good data, I'll get some more $100 AWS cards.

Here's some performance project ideas.

  • Run throughput and latency stress tests on the Zuul API gateway on various instance types
  • Run stress tests for sizing data against other service level projects - Eureka, Edda, Ice, etc.
  • Make the cass_jmeter project better in some way
  • Analyze the code paths in Astyanax and find ways to make it run faster and use less memory
Go for it, only a few days left. Contest ends at midnight Pacific time Sunday Sept 15th.

Best wishes

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Tutorials and Training on Cloud Architecture and NetflixOSS

There are two places that I'm giving in-depth training on cloud architecture and NetflixOSS this year.

On May 22nd-23rd at Gluecon 2013 in Broomfield Colorado I'm giving one of the opening keynote talks that introduces the concepts of a Cloud Native Architecture, then spending all afternoon on a tutorial to go into the details of how to get there and how to use NetflixOSS tools as an on-ramp to accelerate the process.

For people in Europe, I'm teaching at a summer school on "Software for the Cloud and Big Data" September 8th-14th in Italy. It's organized by ETH Zurich. I'll be giving six one-hour talks over a week, and there are seven other speakers.

LASER 2013 banner

When I get back from LASER, it will be time to start evaluating nominations for the NetflixOSS Cloud Prize, and these are both opportunities to figure out how to build a strong entry.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Comment on How Netflix Is Ruining Cloud Computing

I wrote a long comment response to how-netflix-is-ruining-cloud-computing on Information Week, but they don't seem in a hurry to post it. Luckily I saved a copy so here it is:

There should be a post in the next day or so that will give more context to the Cloud Prize and clarify most of the points above. However I will address some of the specific issues here.

Cloud 1.0 vs. 2.0?
I would argue that the way most people are doing cloud today is to forklift part of their existing architecture into a cloud and run a hybrid setup. That's what I would call Cloud 1.0. What Netflix has done is show how to build much more agile green field native cloud applications, which might justify being called Cloud 2.0. The specific IaaS provider used underneath, and whether you do this with public or private clouds is irrelevant to the architectural constructs we've explained.

The outages that have been mentioned were regional, they didn't apply to Netflix operations in Europe for example. Our current work is to build tooling for multi-regional support on AWS (East cosat/West coast), including the DNS management that was mentioned. This removes the failure mode with the least effort and disruption to our existing operations.

Other cloud vendors have a feature set and scale comparable to AWS in 2008-2009. We're still waiting for them to catch up. There are many promises but nothing usable for Netflix itself. However there is demand to use NetflixOSS for other smaller and simpler applications, in both public and private clouds, and Eucalyptus have demonstrated Asgard, Edda and Chaos Monkey running, and will ship soon in Eucalyptus 3.3. There are signs of interest from people to add the missing features to OpenStack, CloudStack and Google Compute so that NetflixOSS can also run on them.

You've completely missed the point of Edda. It does three important things. 1) if you run at large scale your automation will overload the cloud API endpoint, Edda buffers this information and provides a query capability for efficient lookups. 2) Edda stores a history of your config, it's a CMDB that can be used to query for what changed. 3) Edda cross integrates multiple data sources, the cloud API, our own service registry Eureka, Appdynamics call flow information and can be extended to include other data sources.

If you want to spin up 500 identical instances, having them each run Chef or Puppet after they boot creates a failure mode dependency on the Chef/Puppet service, wastes startup time, and if anything can go wrong with the install you end up with an inconsistent set of instances. By using AMInator to run Chef once at build time, there is less to go wrong at run time. It also makes red/black pushes and roll-backs trivial and reliable.

Cloud Prize
The prize includes a portability category. It's a broad category and might be won by someone who adds new language support to NetflixOSS (Erlang, Go, Ruby?) or someone who makes parts of NetflixOSS run on a broader range of IaaS options. The reality is that AWS is actually dominating cloud deployments today, so contributions that run on AWS will have the greatest utility by the largest number of people. The alternatives to AWS are being hyped by everyone else, and are showing some promise, but have some way to go.

We hope that NetflixOSS provides a useful driver for higher baseline functionality that more IaaS APIs can converge on, and move from 2008-era EC2 functionality to 2010-era EC2 functionality across more vendors. Meanwhile Netflix itself will be enjoying the benefits of 2013 AWS functionality like RedShift.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The IT swamp draining manual for anyone who is neck deep in alligators

I've spent the last year or so reviewing Gene Kim's new book - the Phoenix Project and encouraging him to get it finished. It came out this week, is the top business book on Amazon as I write this, and I got a nice back-cover quote shown below with Gene's actual finger in the photo.

Many years ago someone gave me a copy of The Goal, which is the inspiration for The Phoenix Project. In both cases the book is a novel about a company that is dysfunctional and on the verge of going out of business. The lead character is dropped into the job of figuring out how to dig their way out of the problem, and in the case of The Phoenix Project, the company fumbles its way from legacy enterprise where IT isn't regarded as central to their success, into the modern world of agile development practices and DevOps deployments where IT becomes a competitive advantage.

Don't just read it, give copies of it to your friends in management. It should be on every CxO's bookshelf.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Looking back at 2012, with pointers to 2013

A collection of things that seem to have pivoted in 2012.

Mobile Bandwidth Greater than Fixed Bandwidth

I've been talking about LTE and the growth in mobile since 2008, but I started 2012 with a Verizon iPhone 4 which maxed out at 2Mbit/s over 3G and at home in the mountains I would get less than 1Mbit/s. I ended 2012 with a Verizon iPhone 5 which is about ten times faster at home, I regularly see 8-9Mbits/s, and the best speed I have seen anywhere so far was in downtown Los Gatos at over 50Mbit/s. My home fixed wire Internet is a 3Mbit/s DSL that has neighborhood congestion at peak times. I now find it works better to have WiFi turned off on my iPhone at home.

This is one of those pivotal changes, similar to the change from having predominantly fixed wire telephone service at home, to having many people use mobile phones exclusively. It costs more, but if you already have a high bandwidth connection to your phone with a high data cap because you use it a lot, why pay to also have a low bandwidth connection to your house? Bandwidth caps and data usage plans will slow the switchover, but the writing is on the wall.

Cutting The Cable/Satellite TV Feed

In 2013 we finally turned off our TiVo and shut down our DirecTV account. We weren't using it enough to make it worth while. For some of the sports events (Laurel follows the Stanford Cardinals), we go to a sports bar to watch, which is more fun anyway. Everything else that we have time to watch, we can watch online, and we get all our news updates from Twitter, RSS feeds and Facebook posts. By the time it's on TV or in a newspaper, it's already old news.

The TV has an AppleTV connected to it, which gets almost all the usage. We watch a few things on laptops, and sometimes I connect a laptop to the TV. I also stream music from my iPhone to the AppleTV because I can't get Pandora or Spotify on it. Come on Apple, where's the AppleTV App Store? Maybe that's a 2013 thing.

The Netflix Open Source Cloud Platform Got Traction

We started the year with a handful of disconnected projects, and ended it with a large chunk of the platform on Github, and some high profile users. Most people are still picking it up piecemeal but in 2013 we plan to get the whole thing put together as an installable bundle. This is the Alan Kay approach, "The best way to predict the future is to invent it".  Netflix has been out in front of the industry in terms of cloud adoption, inventing the future. Next we make it easier for others to join us in that future, and have some ideas for how to drive adoption to new heights.

Netflix Cloud Architecture Presentations

I was going to list all the talks I gave, but there are too many, so go see the slides I posted at Highlights were QConSF, QConLondon, Gluecon in Colorado, GOTO in Aarhus and of course AWS Re:Invent in Las Vegas. The impact of these talks grew through the year, reaching a peak at Re:Invent, where we had lots of speakers and attention to the way the Netflix cloud and open source story was bringing value to the company and reaching out into the technical community. A big thanks to everyone who came to my talks, and all the other Netflix speakers who have been out there broadening the story. It's almost impossible to write an article or do a presentation about cloud without mentioning Netflix. In 2013 there will be even more talks, I focus on local and US based events that are strongly developer oriented like QConGluecon, and GOTO. We will definitely be back at AWS Re:Invent next November.

The Concept of Anti-Fragility Took Off

Nassim Taleb's latest book crystallizes the way I tend to approach things and gives it a name. The Netflix cloud architecture is anti-fragile, we run "Chaos Monkey's" continuously to try and break it, and that makes it stronger. The Netflix culture is anti-fragile, it's decentralized with as little process and rules as possible and a lot of local autonomy. Netflix management is not afraid of change or of being first to do something and tends to navigate disruptive transitions well. From the outside this can look chaotic or confusing, but it works, and recovers well from missteps, which are always going to happen. If you're not failing occasionally you aren't trying hard enough, and you are missing opportunities. Getting stronger through failure is the basis of anti-fragility. Avoiding failure at all costs (as many people try to do) makes you brittle and vulnerable to unexpected Black Swan events that will have a much bigger impact.

Cloud, Open Source, SaaS and the End of Enterprise Computing

Taleb makes the point that big companies become increasingly fragile as they lose agility and the ability to move with the markets, and we are seeing that play out in the Enterprise Computing space. There is still money to be made from the late adopter customers, but the trend is clearly towards development using exclusively open source tools, with applications and infrastructure delivered as a service. There is zero revenue for traditional Enterprise Computing vendors in this model. The current interest in building out private cloud infrastructure is real and will continue to support traditional vendors into 2013, but it's a short term investment. At best you end up with a much better automated datacenter, but it isn't elastic and it has far fewer features than AWS, so it's going to be marginalized over time. At worst, you discover just how hard it is to run a reliable private cloud based on immature software, with incompatible upgrade paths, and it turns out to be much more expensive to run.

The Enterprise Computing vendors haven't been able to build a public cloud  that competes with AWS on scale, price or features, and AWS is now focused on building everything their customers need to take the next generation of application investment out of the datacenter, so the high margin revenue is going to gradually go away for the traditional vendors.

The most interesting development in 2012 was the re-launch of Google as a public cloud infrastructure vendor, and the mini-price-war between AWS and Google over instance and storage costs makes it clear where the real action is. During 2013 we will see if Google manages to invest heavily and execute well enough to build up a big user base.  In mobile, as I predicted years ago, we are now in an iPhone vs. Android battle that is wiping out everyone else. I personally think in 2014 we will likely see a similar effect as the scale, features and price point of AWS and Google clouds make everyone else irrelevant. The only question in my mind is whether AWS runs away with this on their own, or Google manages to get some traction as the alternative.

Note to sales reps (who won't listen), I'm not interested in anything to do with datacenters, private cloud, or other public clouds in 2013. I'm only interested in SaaS apps, things that run on AWS, and interesting open source projects.

Solar Powered Electrics Cars Are For Real Now

We drive our Nissan Leaf all the time, it's fun to drive and the first car we pick for most trips, adding up to almost 1000 miles a month. The marginal cost of running the car is near zero. New tires and a cabin air filter at 15K miles is all the maintenance it needs. We have an excess of solar power generation that added up to $500 in unused electricity over the year. At 10c/KWh and 3.5KWh/mile that's plenty for us run a second electric car before we start paying for the power, and there are a lot more choices coming in 2013. There are many charging stations around the Bay Area, lots of other people running Leafs, and the Tesla Model S got car of the year awards. It takes a test drive to realize what fun it is to have instant torque and no gear shifts. This is a case of the future being unevenly distributed. If you don't live in California, it's a bit further out, but it's coming.

A friend recently got a quote for Solar Power installation which was about half what we paid two years ago, and we got a good deal then. Prices have dropped fast and are much lower than most people think. If you don't already have solar panels on your roof, you should get them. If you don't use enough electricity to justify solar panels, get an electric car as well, and save at the gas pump.

Global Warming Arrived in the USA in 2012

The well funded Merchants of Doubt (read the book) managed to confuse and suppress public discussion of global warming in the USA for the last few years, but the effects just became too obvious this year and it broke through, creating the scenarios that James Hansen warned of in Storms of My Grandchildren. The arctic ice cap melt continues to accelerate, seas are warming and rising, drought and record heat hit most of the USA, and everything wrapped up with Hurricane Sandy, pushing the topic onto the front page. The dice are all loaded now, and 2013 is already rolling those dice as the drought continues and the Mississippi river is empty. I've been saying for the last few years that if you own property at sea level, you should find someone who doesn't believe in global warming to sell it to, because it's going to become increasingly uninsurable and end up as worthless as the houses along the New Jersey shoreline that were swept away.

The Republican party is still in denial, a combination of funding from big oil companies and an inability to accept or admit that their demonized Al Gore could have been right all along. In 2013 it will be interesting to see how they deal with losing the election, and perhaps there will be a split into a group of Republicans that see the path to re-election in 2014 as needing to accept reality by voting for some Global Warming related legislation, versus the hard core that are trying to pray their way out. The current battle is over stopping the Keystone XL pipeline that would move the dirtiest kind of tar oil from Alberta Canada to Texas. It may be symbolic, but if KXL is stopped, the tide will have turned. Carbon needs to be left in the ground. For 2013, I'm going to try and re-balance my 401K retirement accounts to divest from oil companies. Many students are now pressuring their colleges to divest from oil as well.

Twitter and Snapchat

Personally, 2012 was an excellent year for me, I've made lots of new friends and learned a lot by being active on twitter, ending the year with about 6500 followers. I joked on twitter that I posted my new years resolutions for 2013 to Snapchat, but you missed them. If you don't know what Snapchat is for, ask a teenager. You'll probably hear a lot more about it in 2013, then, when their parents figure it out and join too, the teens will be onto the next thing....