Smartphone Photos: Yes, Really

Since I joined HTC back in October, I’ve gotten to play with a lot of our phones and I’ve been quite impressed, especially with photos from the camera. What I love most is how people are surprised that they were taken with a cellphone — even people in HTC!

Here are a few of my favorites:

Frosty morning in Seattle
Frosty morning in Seattle
Discovery Park
Discovery Park
Discovery Park
Discovery Park
Sunset from the Space Needle
Sunset from the Space Needle

Net-Worth of Congressional Dept Panel Members

There is an old adage that a group typically won’t vote to reduce it’s own power. It isn’t a far jump to extend this to tax increases: few people are likely to vote an increase in their own taxes. This got me wondering about the new Congressional “super committee” appointed to propose a solution to the debt crisis. Most particularly, which members have the most to lose if taxes are increased on the rich?

Here is a table of the members’ net worth, sorted from richest to poorest. Since the data provides only range of net worth, I’ve sorted by the lowest estimated amount (sorting by the high estimate has only a marginal impact on the order, with Senator Kyl dropping several places).

Name Chamber Representation Net Worth (low) Net Worth (high)
John Kerry Senate D-MA $182,755,534 $294,869,059
Fred Upton House R-MI $7,010,173 $25,651,000
Rob Portman Senate R-OH $6,469,080 $14,965,000
Dave Camp House R-MI $2,966,100 $10,515,000
Pat Toomey Senate R-PA $1,127,038 $2,905,000
Jeb Hensarling House R-TX $928,025 $2,270,000
Jon Kyl Senate R-AZ $519,090 $746,082
Patty Murray Senate D-WA $449,017 $1,185,000
James Clyburn House D-SC $212,010 $582,000
Chris Van Hollen House D-MD $148,007 $445,000
Xavier Becerra House D-CA $100,054 $1,424,999
Max Baucus Senate D-MT $13,013 $204,000

Data from OpenSecrets.org

I should note that this is a rather blunt analysis. Due to different forms of taxation someone that has a higher net worth may or may not have to pay more taxes if there is a change to the tax regime. Additionally, this is net worth, which is not the same as annual income and is taxed differently.

As an aside, I plan to start a non-profit to help raise Senator Baucus out of his relative poverty.

Boas-vindas Presidente Obama: Welcoming President Obama to Brazil

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“It’s an honor to welcome the first american president that looks brazilian!! :)”

Those words of welcome, from Fred in Brasilia, joined about 30,000 more messages for President Obama as he made his first visit to Brazil this past March. To help celebrate the president’s visit, we helped the United States Embassy in Brasilia develop “Boas-vindas Presidente Obama”, a social media campaign to raise interest in the president’s visit.

A major objective of this program was to help Brazilians engage with the President’s visit beyond the handful of public events and the usual TV coverage. Brazil is a continent-sized nation with more than 190 million people, so the opportunities for Brazilians to actively participate were unfortunately limited. Social media provided a solution. ?The visit also provided an opportunity to increase mutual understanding and further dialogue with Brazilians on priority themes (such as education, the environment, clean energy, global partnerships, and other topics).

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More Photos from Cairo University

Cairo University sent me some more photos from the two events that were held there last week. There was a great turnout to both events and, as I mentioned in my earlier post, the discussion was challenging and very interesting. I really wish I had more time to debate some of the issues that were raised.

Also, I would be remiss if I did not thank the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and particularly the Information Resource Center. They really made this event happen. If you are interested in more events like this or to follow their work, I suggest checking out the Facebook pages for the U.S. Embassy Cairo and the Information Resource Center.

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