Category Archives: Essay

Lint

So …

I have an iPhone 6s Plus. The lightning plug port had stopped charging – sort of. The plug wouldn’t stay in and I would have to carefully hold it “just so” to get it to charge. I had the same problem with my original iPhone 5s. It was the reason I upgraded to the 6s Plus.

So I called my local Batteries + Bulbs. $80 to replace the charging port. BUT the nice lady I spoke to suggested using a toothpick to clean out any lint. I used a toothpick and compressed air (computer dust spray) and cleaned out a fair amount of lint.

PROBLEM SOLVED

The charging plug snaps briskly in and charges. Son’s iPhone … same problem … same solution.

 
PS – I also cleaned out my old iPhone 5s … problem solved.

Wolves

I first met him in 2000. He was the Oracle DBA at the company which would later be bought by the one that employed my for 15 years. He is the reason I got my Oracle DBA certification.

He has been out of work for several years now and was finally forced to sell his house. He will be moving back to Oklahoma to live with relatives. He’s my age or a little younger. 

I went over to see him tonight. He is giving away his stuff as his subdivision doesn’t allow garage sales.

Lay offs, reductions in force, terminations continue unabated in the “oil patch”. 

Ever since he called me over the weekend to tell me he was moving, the Garth Brooks song “Wolves” has been playing in my mind. 

Oh Lord, keep me from bein’ the one the wolves pull down

Wolves

Garth Brooks

January’s always bitter

But Lord, this one beats all

The wind ain’t quit for weeks now

And the drifts are ten feet tall

I been all night drivin’ heifers

Closer in to lower ground

Then I spent the mornin’ thinkin’ 

‘Bout the ones the wolves pulled down

Charlie Barton and his family

Stopped today to say goodbye

He said the bank was takin’ over

The last few years were just too dry

And I promised that I’d visit

When they found a place in town 

Then I spent a long time thinkin’

‘Bout the ones the wolves pull down

Lord, please shine a light of hope

On those of us who fall behind

And when we stumble in the snow

Could you help us up while there’s still time

I don’t mean to be complainin’ Lord 

You’ve always seen me through

And I know you got your reasons

For each and every thing you do

But tonight outside my window

There’s a lonesome, mournful sound

And I just can’t keep from thinkin’

‘Bout the ones the wolves pull down

Oh Lord, keep me from bein’

The one the wolves pull down

 
Songwriters: STEPHANIE DAVIS

© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Thunderstorms

This is another Father’s Day tribute to Bob (aka Dad).

From Welcome to the Future …

Despite the fact that my parents love for me caused them to be overly protective, my dad did something equally amazing for me. I have always loved thunderstorms. I love the lightning and I love the thunder. I think that thunderstorms are one of the most exhilarating of all natural phenomenon. There is a reason for this. My dad grew up in an orphanage. It was not uncommon at the time for single mothers who could not care for their children to abandon them at an orphanage. Summertime in Florida produces severe afternoon thunderstorms. The nuns at the orphanage were afraid that lightening would hit the building and set fire to it. Rather than face the possibility of an orphanage full of trapped children burning to the ground, whenever a thunderstorm approached, the nuns would make the children go outside and lie facedown in the grass until the storm passed. Needless to say, my dad was terrified of thunderstorms; shaking, vomiting, fetal position terrified of thunderstorms. Dad swore to himself that I was never going to be afraid of lightning and thunder like he was. From my earliest days my dad would pick me up and bounce me on his knee during storms. “See the lightning,” he would say, “now wait, here it comes … BADDA BOOM.” I would giggle and laugh. He showed no fear, why should I. Of course, I remember none of this. I was too young. But I do know that I love lightning and thunder. Whenever my dad told this story he would add one more thing … by making sure that I was never afraid of thunderstorms he had cured his own fear too.

  
Trying to proof-read the above is difficult through tear filled eyes. If there are typos, cut me some slack.

 Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there and to their children!

Bergen Park Dreams

[ I began writing this about the time that iOS 10.3.2 Trashed My iPhone … just now getting back to it ]

In a previous post I told you briefly of my time living at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory a mile or so west of Bergen Park Colorado in the mountains west of Denver. 

I lived at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory in Bergen Park from 1976 to 1981 with my newlywed bride, two dogs, and (very briefly) a cat. They were perhaps the happiest days of my life and I still have what I have come to call “Bergen Park Dreams”.

“Bergen Park Dreams” are essentially what they sound like, dreams about living in Bergen Park … but they have evolved subtly over the years. Initially they were simple reminiscences of actual events at the time, but as time passed they became stranger and stranger. This maybe due to the fact that I had revisited Bergen Park in the mid-90s and more recently in 2015 – boy had things changed.

My first drive to Bergen Park and the Observatory was in 1975. It was little more than a crossroads with a Conoco station, a mini mart, liquor store, bowling alley, and a few restaurants. Depending on which road out of Bergen Park you chose, you would be on your way to the more populous Evergreen to the south, or on the road to Squaw Mountain and Mount Evans to the southwest, or heading west back to connect to I-70 via Colorado 65. 

The area west of Bergen Park on Colorado 65 was pristine. It was a Colorado mountain paradise. The Observatory was just off of 65 to the north up a dirt road. Back then, as I said, it was truly a pristine paradise. Elk would graze within a stone’s throw of the upper balcony. Little did I know that it would all change in just a few short years with the development of the Soda Creek community on the south side of 65 and it’s million dollar mini-ranchettes. From 1976 to 1981 I lived in a Colorado paradise worth millions of dollars because I could not afford to live anywhere else.

In the summer of 1976 the future Mrs flew out to visit me for a week during the summer. We had been dating since 1973 when we had met in fencing class at Broward Junior College near Davie, Florida west of Fort Lauderdale where I lived with my folks. Ok I actually lived in Wilton Manors, an island bounded by natural rivers and man-made canals within Fort Lauderdale, but whatever. 

I met my wife-to-be in Junior College while attending a fencing class. She was my partner during field camp for the “barbed-wire stretching” section. We had five miles of barbed-wire to stretch along a section of canal that bordered the Everglades. She cut her hand and I cleaned and bandaged it tenderly with love and care. So gentle were my attentions that she soon fell under the spell of my gentle but manly manner and soon we were lying under the shade of a mangrove tree making sweet, sweet …

Oh wait that was last night’s dream … It was fencing class as in touché, sabers, etc. …

My wife-to-be in fencing class:

20130831-171620.jpg

Ok not my wife … and besides in 1973 the world had not yet been introduced to light-sabers. We used foils, épées, old-school sabers. Her sweet smile and school girl laugh pierced my heart as did the unshielded tip of her épée. When I finally got out of the hospital … OK that was lie. It was fencing class nothing more. But it was the beginning of a 40 year love affair.

For a picture of my wife-to-be back in 1973, click HERE.

Where was I? Oh yes, 1976, so this was the first time I had not gone home over summer break and had moved into the Observatory full-time only a few months before in order to establish in-state residency. My wife-to-be was flying out from Miami to visit me. I had gone to the former Stapleton International airport in Denver to pick her up only to find out that her flight was “delayed”. I was unable to get any information regarding the delay. I began thinking … what if the plane had crashed? Would the Arrival Display calmly announce “Hull Loss” or “Plane Crashed”? Of course not. It would announce FLIGHT DELAYED. I finally gave up and drove back to Bergen Park with the weight of uncertainty heavily upon me. Later that night she called from the hotel in which the airline had put them up in Dallas due to engine trouble. She arrived the next day telling me the story of the woman dressed in her wedding gown flying to her wedding which she obviously missed. Not like you could call someone on your cell phone to explain the situation back then – THEY DIDN’T EXIST.

My wife-to-be spent the week with me in Bergen Park the summer of 1976. It was a wonderful week. I asked her to marry me and, fool that she was, she accepted.  We set the date for December 30th, 1976 when I planned to be home for Christmas break. We chose December 30th because we did not want to be driving anywhere on New Year’s Eve. Before and after her visit and until we were married, life was pretty lonely in Bergen Park. I could drive the old International Harvester back and forth to Golden and stop at any points along the way, but I was broke and spent most of my time studying. Since no mail was delivered to the Observatory (I didn’t even know the address at that time), I had gotten a post office box in Golden that served as my official address. There was also a land line to the Observatory, but I tried to keep the long distance calls to a minimum. My wife-to-be was in nursing school in Miami and was quite busy herself.

Over the summer of 1976 I had a lot of time to myself. I hiked around the 75 acres of Coors land that the Observatory sat on. I walked or drove into Bergen Park for groceries. I read a lot. I changed and developed the seismic records every night and once a week drive them down to Golden. Life was peaceful and idyllic, when not outright boring. I caught wolf spiders in jars and kept them as pets feeding them moths. OK – that was creepy, but I was desperate for companionship. Introvert that I was – and still am – I treasure my alone time, but there is alone and then there is lonely. I would talk out loud to the spiders, the walls, myself just to hear a voice.

There was a well on the property that provided all of the water (via an electric downhole pump) and two drain fields. The well was located just to the east of the building and the sanitary septic tank and drain field was located on the other side to the west. There was also a secondary drain field in the front of the building (to the south) near the dirt road up from the main road. This was for the photographic chemicals and rinse water. I had to be careful not to use too much rinse water during the development process or when cleaning the tanks or I would get a spring that ran down the dirt road. Not a problem in the summer, but it would form an ice slick in the winter … which my wife discovered when she slid under her car while getting into it to head to work one frozen morning. It was several minutes before I noticed her screaming for me … an event she tells others to this day.

I didn’t trust the well, so I would fill jugs of water up from a water spigot at the back of the Green Center building back at the School of Mines in Golden and lug them up to Bergen Park. Cecil H. Green (founder of Texas Instruments) was quite the philanthropist and many buildings are in his (and his wife’s) name. Eventually I had the well water tested and it came back with coliform bacteria at “TNTC” (Too Numerous To Count). My fears were justified. Contaminated ground water had gotten into the well. I would fix this. I found the well head and opened it up. Then I ran a hose from the spigot into the well and turned on the water. Finally came the chlorine bleach, I forget how many jugs of bleach. I let the water circulate – I forget for how long – but long enough to circulate the bleach to every part of the system. Then I let it sit and soak. Then circulate. Then soak. Finally I let the water run and flushed out the bleach until I could smell chlorine no more. Then waited to let the well recharge and flushed it again. Eventually I had the water tested again and it was safe to drink. But for how long? I think I waited a month to get the well water tested again before I felt safe to drink it. With the second test passed, I could stop lugging water. The well water at Bergen Park was perhaps the best water I have ever had. It was delicious … and had the bizarre ability to keep our teeth free of plaque. To this day, only Ozarka Spring Water comes close.

Anyway, not long after moving to Houston with my first employer out of college I began to have the “Bergen Park Dreams”.  As I said above, they were originally just remembrances of the past, but slowly began to morph into something stranger, an alternate reality. I am back in Bergen Park present day and move back into the Observatory for no apparent reason. Sometimes the Mrs is with me, sometimes not. We are usually our younger selves. Often the area around the Observatory is highly built up, even more than in reality. The dreams are often quite vivid and colorful. Sometimes I also dream about an alternate reality version of Golden and the School of Mines, usually an ultra high-tech version, with many new ultra modern buildings. 

Dreams are curious things. Mine are often quite interesting. Some folks have the occasional nightmare (scary dreams), me not so much. I tend to think of dreams as the “screen saver” our brain provides while it “defrags.” Sleep is the time our brain sorts and stores our daily memories and our nervous system is flushed of toxins. Sleep is when our muscles are repaired from the damage incurred during our daily workouts. Sleep is also when youngsters grow – and why adequate sleep is so critical for the young. So between nervous system and muscle repair, body growth, and memory fixation we learn that adequate sleep is very, very important to the human condition.

My occasional “Bergen Park Dreams” are just another aspect of my sleep.

 
Links in this post:
https://contrafactual.com/2017/05/24/ios-10-3-2-trashed-my-iphone/
https://contrafactual.com/2017/05/22/olde-time-radio/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen_Park
https://contrafactual.com/2013/08/31/convoy/
https://contrafactual.com/2013/09/28/hot-chick/
http://greencenter.mines.edu
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cecil_Howard_Green
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coliform_bacteria
https://www.ozarkawater.com
https://contrafactual.com/2014/05/27/sleep/

Apple Support

Apple Support Rocks

Saturday March 27 approximately 1:00 PM … sanity is restored

It may be a while before this posts, that is, between now and when I finish it.

In my previous post I commented: Arthur C. Clark once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” except when it f*ck$ up, then it is like a curse from Marie Laveau. (I added the Marie Laveau bit)

Note: My friend also updated his iPhone 6s Plus and thought it went without a hitch. HOWEVER he just discovered that his App Store app is gone. He just called Apple Support and was told that he needed wipe his iPhone and and restore from scratch. Based on my experience there may be another approach but after three days of this I told him I would help him another day. That will be another blog post. UPDATE – my friend had set up Settings > General > Restrictions to turn off access to the App Store and that is why the App Store app disappeared. Sadly he only discovered this after resetting his phone to factory default … TWICE.

Based on personal evidence I conclude that the iOS 10.3.2 upgrade is flawed. I now extremely reticent to upgrade my other devices. 

Additionally I still don’t have all of my ringtones back. I now have most of them but not all. It may be less frustrating to just buy them again if I really want them. You see ringtones are entirely different from music or apps (or iBooks?) purchased from iTunes. Perhaps they are a throwback to the early days of cellphones. Ringtones cannot re-downloaded after purchase. It is a onetime thing. Backing them up requires syncing your iPhone to iTunes on a PC or Mac. I only got back the ones I did through the effort of upper level Apple iTunes Support.

My problem with this entire debacle is that I am so spoiled when it comes to Apple. I expect these kinds of issues with Windows and Linux. With Apple I expect it to “just work”. It always has for me. This time – for me – it failed to “just work.”

Anyway … back to Apple Support … throughout this entire ordeal every Apple Support person I have dealt with from Tier One to Upper Levels has been gracious, calm, and absolutely committed to resolving my issues. I don’t expect technology to function flawlessly at all times (Apple excluded – as I said I’m spoiled), but what do appreciate are companies dedicated to having happy customers. Apple certainly qualifies in this regard. Attention Tim Cook – you should be very proud of your support team.

Hell week continues

Oh for the good olde days 

 
Maybe Jim Stafford had it right …

     Well, I think of that girl from time to time

     I call her up when I got a dime

Or maybe a cocoanut telegraph?

Arthur C. Clark once said that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” except when it f*ck$ up, then it is like a curse from Marie Laveau.

 •  •  •  •  • 

Re-configuration continues slowly and methodically. Now I need to call Apple to figure out how to get all of my ring tones back. Mañana. I’m going to bed early tonight.

Olde Time Radio

Note: please click on the highlighted links included in the text for more information.

“This is radio station WWV, Fort Collins, Colorado, broadcasting on internationally allocated standard carrier frequencies of 2.5, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 megahertz, providing time of day, standard time interval, and other related information. Inquires regarding these transmissions may be directed to the National Bureau of Standards, Time and Frequency Services Section, Boulder, Colorado 80524.”

At least this is how I remember it from over 40 years when I lived at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory in the mountains west of Denver just outside of Bergen Park. Compare this to the current version as shown in the previous post

From 1974 to 1981, I was enrolled at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden Colorado (home of the legendary Coors beer re: Smokey and the Bandit). I lived in the dorms from 1974 to 1976. In a move to establish in-state tuition and a SIGNIFICANT cost savings I needed to 1) have my parents stop claiming me on their income tax, 2) establish year-round residence in Colorado, and (most important) 3) fill out the forms and get in-state status (probably easier to do then than now). As luck would have it during my second year at Mines, my undergraduate advisor Maurice W. (Maury) Major needed someone to change the records at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory on the weekends. This provided me with some extra money. When I eventually told him of my desire to establish in-state tuition and that I needed a place to live over the summer, he suggested that I could live at the observatory and change the records every night as part of the deal … and what a deal it was. I got totally free accommodations on 75 acres of Colorado mountain land owned by Coors, continued to get paid a small stipend for changing the records, and the use of an old International Harvester to travel back and forth from Bergen Park to Golden. The Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory was part of the World Wide Standardized Seismograph Network, ostensibly set up to study the internal structure of the earth via earthquake signatures, but actually set up to monitor Soviet underground nuclear tests. For 82 pages of mind numbing detail be sure to read the World-Wide Standardized Seismograph Network: A Data Users Guide. The Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory was instrumental in proving that that the earthquakes Denver was experiencing during the 1960s were in fact caused by the pumping of chemical waste into a disposal well at the Rocky Moutain Arsenal just north of Denver.




  

Then (1989)

Click to access bergen%20park%20ca.pdf

 
Now (2015)

I took the above photo in 2015 while in Denver attending the wedding of Jess and Brian (a story for another time). As near as I could tell, the land and structure had been sold and someone was converting it to an actual home. When I lived there the first floor contained the seismological recording equipment and the second floor (two-thirds the size of of the first floor) had room for a large “class room”, a small toilet/sink/shower room, and two small “offices” (one of which, next to the bathroom, I used as a bedroom). The other third of the upstairs area was a tar paper and gravel “sun deck” enclosed by a wooden railing.

Every evening I would go downstairs (note that the stairs were outside) and turn on the short wave radio tuned to WWV. It was part of the vertical cabinet pictured in the image below. The actual seismometers (the x-y-z pendulums), the triangular boxes, were located in a tunnel excavated into the hill behind and to the north of the building. The actual recording equipment … the drums (and galvanometers pictured below the drums) were located in room 103* as indicated in the schematic pictured above. Room 101* contained the radio and time coding equipment. Room 102*/ 102A* contained the photographic developing tanks and the drier.


Click to access ofr2014-1218.pdf

Since each seismogram was recorded by light bouncing off of a mirror attached to a galvanometer, I had to work “by touch” in total darkness to change the paper on the drum and develop the paper with the seismic recordings. While working I usually left the radio tuned to WWV as it told me how long to leave the photographic paper in each stage of the development process. Night after night after night after night I heard “This is radio station WWV, Fort Collins, Colorado, broadcasting on internationally allocated standard carrier frequencies of … ” yada, yada, yada until it was burned into my memory as surely has the lyrics to Happy Birthday to You or Back in the USSR

One night I even tried tuning into other stations specifically trying to locate Radio Moscow. I finally gave up trying after tuning into a station where a man and a woman with obvious mid-west accents were reading questions from that week’s “mailbag”. Imagine my surprise when they proceeded to answer the question “What is the weather like there in Moscow?”

I lived at the Cecil H. Green Geophysical Observatory in Bergen Park from 1976 to 1981 with my newlywed bride, two dogs, and (very briefly) a cat. They were perhaps the happiest days of my life and I still have what I have come to call “Bergen Park Dreams”.

Don’t forget to click on the highlighted links for more information.

Gold, currency, and “risk-free savings”

Read the original on medium.com 


A few thoughts on Gold, currency and “risk free savings” in the wake of Brexit

Today is one of those days that I almost wish I had taken the blue pill.

As the co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of the world’s only gold-backed financial service institution, I’ve received a lot of questions and comments today about the violent movements in gold and currency markets. The starting assumption is that I must somehow be happy for this, and to be celebrating that “we were right”. This assumption could not be further from the truth.

Gold did not make anyone rich today, the currencies built on debt and false promises, unproven and illogical economic theories, THIS money absolutely made people poorer today.

Today the gold savings accounts of our clients were spared over 9 figures in collective devaluation (no, gold is not rising, currency is failing par excellence). I’m not celebrating because this debasement of global currencies hurts the poor and vulnerable most, it is the core of their savings, it measures their contractual wage, and it’s their costs of food, energy, medicine, housing, and education that moved a little farther out of reach today.

This talk of “no inflation risks”, and “post scarcity economics” of robots and “free living wages” is peak hubris from the elites, an insult to the majority of the world’s aspiring middle class that works for their prosperity, and have been realizing at least 5% compounding inflation in EVERYTHING it means to be middle class (except their wage of course). Frankly it makes me disgusted. And today the failed promises of central planners is being manifested across the UK and Europe, as it has been the past few years for most of the worlds emerging market currencies (Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Venezuela, Nigeria, they are becoming too many and too frequent to name).

The Elites that caused this mess in the first place will be bailed out with “emergency liquidity measures” — ie printing money and devaluing the cash of many, the poor, to float asset prices of the few. This is how it has always worked, when money is unbacked “fiat” and only valued by decree (is it backed? no. Is it scarce because savers receive an interest rate? no. Do banks have to work for this interest-free savings? no.). Emergency liquidity is not magic, it does not come from magic people, its snake oil and always ends the same way.

Do you hear this version of the story anywhere in mainstream “news”? FT, where are you at? WSJ, where are you at? Economist, where you at? The view I present today is backed up in math, history, logic, physics, and philosophy. No, what you hear is that ignorant voters caused this (first they rig markets and tell you free markets and capitalism is failing, now they have a problem with democracy too?). You hear that gold, a stable money by the decree of natural law and physics, is rising irrationally out of fear. They call it a speculative commodity, with no value except that its shiny and liked by the uneducated. Oh really? So when I measure everything that is bound by the scarcity of time, toil and energy (food, energy, housing, education, health care), why is gold perfectly correlated with these things? When I price these things 30 years ago in gold, measured in gold, they are the same price today. Gold does not make people rich, debt makes them poor.

So no, our clients are not richer today because a speculative asset is in a 10,000 year bubble and went up; those that only put faith in unbacked currencies are just poorer. We built this businesses because we believed we were right about the logical end points, the case study that is EVERY instance in history, but no, it doesn’t make us happy. There is too much good happening in the world, our currencies are more volatile than the amazing economy they were designed to serve. Free markets and democracy and the invisible hand is the reason for our prosperity and social progress, not the cause of today’s panic.

Gold ascended as natural money due to the binding laws of nature: scarcity, randomness, decay, entropy. These laws make it work as money even if forgotten or obfuscated by the elites. In other words, there was no decree that made gold money, and no decree that stopped gold from being money. Our elites are so lost (or obfuscating), that they actually believe that the value of money is subjective, or valuable only because of their ivory tower decrees. They increasingly believe the wisdom of crowds is just ignorance and a random walk of bias and immorality. Don’t listen to their words, look at their actions, they don’t want free markets, they don’t want democracy. They want control. But their control is not aligned with laws of nature. Uncertainty rules, entropy rules, and this must be embraced or any unnatural system will fail.

The invisible hand has always been energy. Money is energy, everything is energy. Gold is simply its physical equivalence, the only immortal index of time, energy, labour and information you can hold. Measure your wage, measure your value, store your value appropriately. Today its easier than ever with technology.

If the past 8 hours aren’t a reminder, look to the past 8 years. If the past 8 years not a reminder, look at the past 8 decades…centuries…millennia.

If you agree, support our mission. It’s not always fun, but it’s time to take the red pill, too much good happening, to much value to be destroyed by this prevailing financial hubris and ignorance. Today proves that ignorance is not bliss.

Sincerely,

Josh & Roy

Stupidification …

YouTube, the Internet, and the Stupidification of Mankind (A Rant)

stupidification 

Noun

1) making one less intelligent

2) filling people’s mind with patently false concepts, ideas, or historical information

3) reducing or eliminating common sense and rational thought in others

stupidify 

Verb (see stupidification)
PRE-RANT

I can’t stand it anymore. If I don’t rant my head will explode.

I am a child of the 60s. I was there when it happened I saw it with my own eyes. I am also a man of rational thought and historical perspective. I understand and follow the scientific method and I have a good grasp of recent and ancient history.

Humankind has made incredible advances in the last 5000 years. We have gone from wandering about foraging for food, living in fear of nature, disease, and the elements to almost totally mastery of our environment. We have greatly improved the life expectancy and quality of life of the majority of people living on this planet. We have identified, studied, and cured numerous diseases. We have dramatically improved the food supply. We have improved sanitation, the quality of the water we drink and the safety of our work environment.

In the past 5000 years our concept of mathematics has gone from one / few / many to calculus and higher forms of mathematics. This has enabled the advancement of the sciences and our understanding of chemistry, physics, and the world around us, below us, and above us. We have gone from walking on foot to spanning the globe by land, sea, air, and space. Our roads and automobiles allow us to travel farther in an hour than ancient people could travel in a day. Modern air transportation can take us nearly anywhere in the world in less than a day. Manned and unmanned spacecraft circle the Earth in 90 minutes.

Our accumulated knowledge of the past 5000 years has allowed us to develop the technology required to build computers, routers, switches, fiber-optic cables, the Internet, online banking, video communication, websites, blogs, YouTube, streaming music, smart phones, tablets, and much much more. Geosynchronous satellites provide weather information and satellite television. Google, Bing, and other search engines provide us instantaneous access to all of mankind’s knowledge. Men and women graduating college today have never known a time without this technology and we all take it for granted.

Eratosthenes first determined that the Earth was a sphere in the first century BC and actually calculated its circumference to within 15% of its currently accepted value. The fields of surveying and geodesy have established to the nth decimal point the shape of the earth as an oblate spheroid and have developed a vast selection of projection systems (aka Coordinate Reference Systems) used by map makers and the global GIS community to map sections of the three dimensional earth to the two dimensional maps used by governments, companies, and individuals. The map applications on our smart phones rely heavily on this body knowledge. The global network of fiber-optic subsea cables that empower the global Internet could not have been laid without this body of knowledge.

Mankind has been a spacefaring nation since the late 1950s with launch of Sputnik by the former Soviet Union. Humanity has had a more or less continuous human presence in low earth orbit since the early 1960s beginning with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. To date Russia / Soviet Union, the United States, and China have launched men and women into space. Each of these countries has had multiple long duration space stations in orbit. A total of 544 people have been in orbit. Twelve Americans walked on the surface of the moon during the Apollo program of the late 1960s – early 1970s. The total time spent by humans in space is in excess of 131.3 man-years. The following countries have some form of manned and/or unmanned space program: America, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, India, and Russia. Unmanned scientific probes have studied every planet in our solar system. India has a robust unmanned space program and it successfully placed the Mangalayaan probe into Martian orbit on its first try in 2014. World Space Flight has documented every manned and unmanned mission to date.

The knowledge mankind has acquired in the past 5000 years is vast and deep. The technologies we have developed with this knowledge are nothing short of magical.

BEGIN RANT

The “straw the broke the camels back” occurred while preparing my previous post on the Falcon 9.  I ran across a YouTube video on “FakeX” whereby the vlogger reviewed footage of the last SpaceX CRS-8 launch and step-by-step pointed out how every aspect of the video was fake. His explanation and reasoning for each of his points indicated how truly clueless, ignorant, and stupid he was … and yet this video had thousands of views and the vlogger had thousands of followers. Most of the comments and commenters agreed with him. I won’t give you the link because I don’t want to give him another view. Across the Internet and YouTube you will find hundreds (thousands?) of videos “proving” how we have been lied to about:

The Earth is really flat and not a sphere – we’ve been lied to

NASA is lying to us – all spaceflight is faked

The Moon landings were all faked

9/11 – the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition, not planes

The holocaust never happened

Pretty much if you can name an established fact, you will find a blog and a host of YouTube videos “proving” that it is obviously not true and that we have been lied to. A vast global conspiracy has lied to us about pretty much everything we have ever been taught in school or college.

Funny you think? Maybe, until you realize that this counter-culture numbers in the hundreds with followers numbering in the thousands or more. Globally. Millions of views. It is not so much a disbelief in reality as it is a readiness to BELIEVE that everything we have been told or taught about [insert topic] is a lie.

How do you teach science to kids when an Internet search is just as likely bring up even more sites and YouTube videos refuting the science. In a world where everyone gets equal time the “NASA lies crowd” get as many hits as the “NASA crowd”. Even worse Google and YouTube give you suggestions based on your viewing history. Months ago I watched some flat Earth videos and faked Moon landing videos. Now most of videos suggested for me by YouTube are exactly these kinds of videos. “There must be some truth to this if there are that many videos.” And … if someone tries to refute the “we’re being lied to video” the vlogger responds with “wow look at how hard they are working to prop up the big lie.”

Think I’m over reacting? Go to YouTube and search on “NASA lies” or “flat earth” or “Moon landing hoax” or “holocaust hoax” or “9/11 hoax” or … or … or … Look at the number of views. Look at the comments. If you personally did not experience it how do you know what is truth? Science? Laws of Physics? All lies.

Lies lies lies everything you have ever been taught about anything is a lie. AND YOU CAN’T PROVE OTHERWISE.

CALMING DOWN

Whew, OK I’m calmer now … but I’m not done yet.

The irony in all of this is that the Internet and YouTube would not even exist were it not for the very technological advances and hard earned knowledge that the conspiracy theorists tell us are all lies. Global subsea cables and communications satellites are the backbone of the Internet. Flat Earth? I don’t think so.

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. – Carl Sagan

So back to the title of this rant … YouTube, the Internet, and the Stupidification of Mankind

YouTube and the Internet give anyone regardless of intellegence, education, or cognitive function equal footing with the brightest and most learned among us. It is the great equalizer … and the great stupidifier … on a global scale … 24×7.

 

 

We’re doomed.

 

 

See also The War on Science

Buffet’s Math Trumped by Gold

Roy Sebag, CEO of GoldMoney and Founder of BitGold takes Warren Buffet to task on Buffet’s statement in his most recent Annual Letter to stock holders claiming that:

American GDP per capita is now about $56,000. As I mentioned last year that – in real terms – is a staggering six times the amount in 1930, the year I was born, a leap far beyond the wildest dreams of my parents or their contemporaries.
  
Sebag goes on to show that the American GDP per capita is NOT a staggering six times the amount in 1930, but rather is essentially unchanged when compared in an apples to apples comparison in terms of the purchasing power of gold.

 
Read the entire essay on the web or in PDF.

Visit BitGold.com to get started and earn up to a 5% first deposit bonus.

One millimeter

[begin rant]

One fucking millimeter. There I said it … millimeter … or if you prefer millimetre.

iPhone 6s   The only thing that’s changed is everything

No … not everything.

My old iPhone 5s died. OK so it didn’t really die, but the female charging port on the phone got damaged from accidentally ripping the charging cord out of the phone … one … too … many … times. Getting the phone to charge involved just the right amount of ceremonial incantations, fiddling with the Lightning connector, and careful positioning of the iPhone and cord. On the Monday before my birthday the phone died and would not charge. So I ordered a new iPhone 6s Plus, which as luck would have it arrived on said birthday. (Happy Birthday to me, etc., etc, etc.)

I love everything about it … except …

Sir Jonathan Paul Ive, can I call you Jony?

So Jony, the whole world knows how fucking brilliant you are. There, I did it again … brilliant. Yes, you … are … brilliant. You’ve even been knighted for brilliance, for Christ’s sake.

You are brilliant … and you are obsessed. Obsessed with industrial design. Obsessed with elegance. Obsessed with perfection. You are also obsessed with thinness. Obsessed.

But when does obsession cloud judgement? When does the obsession for thinness negate superb industrial design?


One fucking millimeter. If you had made the iPhone 6 series one millimeter thicker, the camera lens would be flush with the case … like the iPhone 5 … and EVERY other iPhone before it. No one … and I do mean no one … would have noticed or cared if the iPhone 6 series was one millimeter thicker.

What could you do with an extra one millimeter of thickness? Make the case a tad thicker and stronger. Make the battery thicker and add a few extra minutes of run time. Who knows? Who cares?

The important thing is that one millimeter is the difference between a smooth backside and one with an ugly zit that keeps the phone from laying solidly on on flat surface without rocking. One millimeter means not worrying about scratching fine old wooden finishes. One millimeter is the difference between obsession and … perfection.

Any chance of fixing this in the iPhone 7?

[end rant]

Please … STOP BLOGGING

 

I … can’t … keep … up

Seriously, stop blogging. Just for a day or two. 

Please …

How did it get this bad?

It started simply enough. I decided to automatically follow anyone who liked or commented on any one of my posts. Then to make sure that I read them, I went to “Blogs I Follow” and made sure I got an email notification for every new post. I figured that anyone who liked or commented on one of my posts was a like-minded spirit and would be interesting to follow. More or less this turned out to be a correct assumption.

Others turned out not so much. Some had long, rambling (boring) tl;dr posts that I just couldn’t wade through. Some posted every minute of every day and flooded my email with posts. Some posted on topics that were of absolutely no interest to me. So for these I went back to “Blogs I Follow” and turned off email notification.

Now I was down to the blogs that were interesting. Your blogs. Your stories. Your cats. Your photos. Your news. Your ideas. Your humor. Your successes. Your fears. Your emotions. All of it good. All of it interesting.

  

Even as I write this, the email counter ratchets upward. Notifications are coming in faster than I can delete them. But I can’t just delete them. I have to look at them in order to delete them and then I read them and then I click on the link and go to the post and then I read the comments and by the time I’m done more notifications have come in. Even worse I may decide to reblog one. By the time I’m done, yet more notifications are in my mailbox.

  

I originally started this blog a few years ago as a venue for writing Fiction and autobiographical history. Then I started adding cat photos. Then reblogs of interesting posts and videos. Now I can’t even keep up with the blogs I follow.

 

 
(help…)
  

(please …)

  

Cocoanut Grove – 1942

Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the Cocoanut Grove Fire.

It seems fitting to repost this … (very long post, but I hope you will read it to the end)

– – –

Originally posted December 2, 2012

So Ye Olde Kid Sister (YOKS) calls me up this morning to wish me Happy Birthday and informs me that they renamed the street in front of the Cocoanut Grove Nightclub from Shawmut Street Extension to Cocoanut Grove Lane.

 
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/11/28/site-cocoanut-grove-blaze-marked-with-named-street/hgRkzDdIIaHery666wCguO/story.html

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/11/30/years-later-bay-village-alley-renamed-remembrance-cocoanut-grove-nightclub-fire/DjYFsLe3BbGEkxOIePp04O/story.html

In my mind I thought yeah that’s right, I am going to post a blog entry on … November 28 … oh ‘sh1+’. Well with the Mrs in hospital the week before Thanksgiving and the Thanksgiving holiday (where I did all the cooking), I suppose you can forgive me for not getting this out on time.

– – –

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoanut_Grove_fire

The Cocoanut Grove was Boston’s premier nightclub during the post-Prohibition 1930s and 1940s. On November 28, 1942, this club was the scene of the deadliest nightclub fire in history, killing 492 people (which was 32 more than the building’s authorized capacity) and injuring hundreds more. The enormity of the tragedy shocked the nation and briefly replaced the events of World War II in newspaper headlines. It led to a reform of safety standards and codes across the country, and major changes in the treatment and rehabilitation of burn victims.

It was the second-deadliest single-building fire in American history; only the 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire in Chicago had a higher death toll, of 602.

Official reports state that the fire started at about 10:15 p.m. in the dark, intimate Melody Lounge downstairs. A young pianist and singer, Goody Goodelle, was performing on a revolving stage, surrounded by artificial palm trees. It was believed that a young man, possibly a soldier, had removed a light bulb in order to give himself privacy while kissing his date. Stanley Tomaszewski—a 16-year-old busboy—was instructed to put the light back on by retightening the bulb. As he attempted to tighten the light bulb in its socket, the bulb fell from his hand. In the dimly-lit lounge, Tomaszewski, unable to see the socket, lit a match to illuminate the area, found the socket, extinguished the match, and replaced the bulb. Almost immediately, patrons saw something ignite in the canopy of artificial palm fronds draped above the tables (although the official report doubts the connection between the match and the subsequent fire).

Continue reading Cocoanut Grove – 1942

iOS 9 Keyboard

When iOS 9 came out for iPad and iPhone, the default appearance of the keyboard changed. The Mrs is visually challenged and did not like the new look of the keyboard. She wanted the old one back. The difference is that the old keyboard displayed CAPITAL LETTERS all of the time. The new one displays either lowercase or UPPERCASE depending on whether or not the shift key was depressed.

OLD KEYBOARD

 

 
New Keyboard 

 

Although not obvious it is possible to revert to the old keyboard default as follows:

Settings > General > Accessibility > Keyboard > Show Lowercase Keys 

Toggle Show Lowecase Keys off

 
Let me know in the comments below if this was useful to you …

They paved paradise …

… and put up a parking lot

There has been a building boom in the far west Houston area. They must be building for the next boom because oil patch layoffs are at an all time high. All manner of woodlands, grasslands, and former rice fields are being paved over to build subdivisions, apartments, office complexes, and shopping complexes. I am not a tree hugger and am more aware than most that the only constant in the universe is change.

I just passed another area of new construction and this tune started playing in my head. At no time in the past 45 years has it been more true than today.

  

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Yellow_Taxi

The WAR on SCIENCE

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.
Carl Sagan

Perhaps society has always been at war with science. Science challenges belief systems. Science threatens the status quo. Scientific thinking requires one to question everything. 

However scientific thought does not grant one the ability to throw out centuries of hard-won knowledge just because the doubter does not “believe” it. The Internet is chock full of blogs decrying the “lies” perpetuated by scientists, NASA, the media, the government. It is truly ironic that the science and technology that made computers, smart phones, tablets, and the Internet possible is the very science under attack on the Internet. So much of the “information” on the Internet is opinion and belief offered up as fact. The Internet gives everyone an equal voice.

Instead of making us smarter, the Internet is making us dumber. Our knowledge is based on “factoids” and “sound bites”. Few people bother to dig deeper. TL;DR

Sadly, I ran across this video on one of those “anti-science”, “we have been lied to” blogs. The author comments:

This is just such a great example of how sometimes the propaganda gets so heavy in it’s shaming tactics that it only serves to show how desperate and panicky the official side is seemingly becoming.

Science = propaganda 

Sigh

Whatever other titles I have held during my professional career …

I proudly claim the title of Scientist.

The Martian 3D

I just saw The Martian in 3D on the wide screen.

Excellent. Seriously excellent. The cinematography was superb. So was the acting. Although there was scrupulous attention paid to the scientific and technological aspects, it did not in any way overshadow the human drama. There was humor. There was frustration. There was elation. Aspects of Apollo 13 and Castaway were strong. There were even reminisces of 2001 A Space Odyssey (without the monolith, monkey men, or crazed computer). I would see this again in the theater.

I previously posted that I had listened to the unabridged audio book. The movie was true to the book, somehow condensing 10hr 53min down to 2hr 21min without loosing anything. Yes, yes the book goes into much more detail on the underlying science and isolation of Mark Watney, but you can read the book later.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D


  


  

  

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D

  

  

http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-martian

Where’s Pickles?

Got up this morning late for work. Hillary is chasing me around the kitchen … “mew, mew, mew, mew

“OK, ok. Do you want cookies? Yes? Where’s Pickles?” No Pickles. I shake the bag of cookies. No Pickles. Shouting and shaking the cookies, “Pickles … cookies! Pickles?” Still no Pickles.

Now I am getting worried. Each of the cats has been locked in a closet and forgotten at least once. They run in when you aren’t looking and hours later (when I go hunting) I find them. 

Pantry? No Pickles.

Laundry room? No Pickles.

Under-stairway closet? No Pickles.

Bedroom closets? No Pickles.

Has Number 2 son left for class? Walk out the the back door through the laundry room. His car is gone. Did Pickles get out? (He is an indoor cat only). I yell into the back yard, “PICKLES.” 

NO PICKLES

Now I am really worried. I walk back inside. Back through the laundry room. “Pickles???????”

Open the door into the kitchen. Pickles is looking up at me … dazed and confused. “Where were you? Cookies?” “M’yawow” I take that to mean yes. So they get their cookies.

Mrs yells something at me from the bedroom. She had spent the night dozing in the third zero-gravity chair she has in the bedroom (sometimes she sleeps better in her chair). After I had been shouting COOKIES for a while she noticed something stirring under the covers. Pickles finally emerged groggily from a deep sleep.

Then I remembered. Pickles had jumped up on the bed in the middle of the night, damp from playing in the shower. We run the AC cold and he was cold. He crawled down under the covers next to me and passed out. I had forgotten about him. 

 
 

Pay it forward

The next time you give money to someone on the street, tell them to “Pay it forward.” 

All cultures embrace concepts of compassion and charity. Only the most greedy, miserly wretch does not feel compelled to help a fellow human being in need. Too many people view the homeless, the street corner beggars, the mendicants as just good-for-nothing bums, too lazy to get or keep a job. Yet many of these folks have fallen so far, have lived on the street so long, have let their health and appearance degrade to the point that no one would hire them. Many have just given up – the pit of despair can be very very deep. Many have made poor choices, drugs and alcohol often are involved. Others are victims of circumstance, the economy, or upbringing. In the “bell curve” of human intellect, drive, ambition, and social skills there will always be those who excel at the high end … and those trapped at the low end. Others are only visiting the low end, a temporary “fall from grace”.

Much is made of the phrase “a hand up, not a hand out.” As if giving to someone in need is only justified if that person somehow betters himself or herself. People who would never give money to someone on the street, feel somehow better giving to their church or an organization. Others feel that tithing 10% to their church, obviates the need for direct person-to-person contact with the low-lifes begging at the intersection. Yet how much of the monies donated to the church and/or other organizations actually makes to into the hands of the needy? What with administrative costs, rents, utilities, etc., churches and organizations can justify huge “expenses”. We continually hear of directors of charitable organizations “living large” off the proceeds donated for the poor.

Who best to decide
How to distribute the tithe
Than he who has need?

• • •

Perhaps you have heard the following comments: “But there are so many people in need, how can I possibly help them all?” or “If I help one person, I’ll have to help them all! I am compassionate, but I am not wealthy. Let the wealthy help them.” 

The story of the starfish comes to mind …

Once upon a time, there was a man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a child, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The child was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The child paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled man.

To this, the child replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the child bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “I made a difference for that one.”

Quoted content from http://www.throwingstarfish.com/the-starfish-story/

• • •

Paying it forward is a third-party beneficiary concept that involves doing something good for someone in response to a good deed done on your behalf or a gift you received. When you pay it forward, however, you don’t repay the person who did something nice for you. Instead, you do something nice for someone else. For example, if someone changes your tire while you are stranded on the highway, you might shovel your elderly neighbor’s walkway after a snow has fallen.

“The concept has a firm foundation in history. Ben Franklin described it in a letter he wrote to Benjamin Webb in 1784, in which he wrote about his intention to help Webb by lending him some money. He did not want to be repaid directly, however. Instead, Franklin hoped that Webb would at some point meet an honest man in need of financial help and pass the money along to him.”

“Paying it forward doesn’t have to mean giving a large some of money or expending a lot of effort. It could be as simple as holding the door for someone laden with bags or giving up a place in line to someone who appears in a rush. It could even mean spending a little cash on coffee for the person behind you in line at a coffee house. For those who have money they can afford to give, there are always people in need, but even the smallest, free gestures can make a difference.”

Quoted content from http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-pay-it-forward-mean.htm

Happy Aniversary

To me …

  

Monolithic Memory

I am neither a software engineer, hardware engineer, nor electrical engineer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night (obscure, questionably humorous ad reference). Technically I am a Data Wrangler, an Oracle DBA (Database Administrator), a SysAdmin (Systems Adminstrator), a troubleshooter, yada, yada, yada. I have a keen interest in all things technological. I am a geek (if that is a positive accolade) and was a nerd (a negative accolade) as a kid. I have some cred.  

I present for your consideration that monolithic memory is the holy grail of computing and within our grasp in the next few years. This is good news for consumers, not so much for old guard industries.

Consider the modern computer. By computer, I include desktops, laptops, servers, tablets, phablets, smart phones, whatever … running any operating system including but not limited to Windows, Linux, Unix, MacOS, iOS, WatchOS, Android, DOS … you get the idea. Regardless of manufacturer, these systems are all remarkably similar. They each have one or more CPUs (Central Processing Units), each CPU having one or more levels of dedicated ultra-high-speed memory called cache. 

Next, they each have a shared block of high-speed RAM (Random Access Memory) which is dynamic (hence DRAM). DRAM is fast. But that speed comes at a price. All data is lost when power is turned off. Recall the time you forgot to save that epic document or spreadsheet and the power went out? Yeah, that drawback.

Finally there is storage, usually in the form of a hard disk drive (HDD), although more and more computers use some form of solid state or flash storage (SSD for Solid State Drive). Mobile devices make heavy use of flash storage. Storage is persistent, but slow. Historical forms of storage include floppy disks, magnetic tape, and even paper punch tape and punch cards. Slow, but persistent.

The term memory is used contextually to describe each of these “data buckets”. The statement “I have 16 gig of memory”, is ambiguous without context. Do you have 16 GB (gigabytes) of RAM in your laptop? Or 16 GB of storage on your iPad? The former is a lot unless you are a gamer or scientist. The later is woefully small especially if you want to store a video or audio collection. RAM is currently supplied in tens of GB and usually in powers of 2: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 GB. Storage on the other hand is now commonly hundreds and thousands of GB.

Modern computer systems have evolved the subsystems necessary to route data between the CPU, cache, dynamic RAM, and persistent storage. These subsystems are comprised of both hardware (controllers, data busses, I/O channels, etc.) and software (drivers, modules, packages, etc). Data flow is a well choreographed dance between low, medium, and high-speed subsystems and pipelines. A true monolithic memory system would eliminate the need for all of this. No more need for swap or page files. No more paging of memory out to disk. No more “saving” work out to disk. No more disk.

In the previous post, I addressed claims by Nantero that their carbon-nanotube-based NRAM offers the tantalizing possibility of lower power, higher data density, faster response, and lower cost than all other types of conventional memory. NRAM has the potential to provide the basis for true monolithic memory. But it won’t happen overnight. Even assuming that NRAM (or a competing technology) is up to the task, no existing operating system or hardware platform is up to the task. A complete redesign of memory management of both the hardware and operating system would be required. 

As a consumer, this is great news. All consumer computer devices will become like smart phones and tablets from the user’s point of view. Always on, instant “save”, super fast. Except that now the amount of storage will be many times greater. Power consumption will be primarily a factor of display efficiency. Speed and power will be better in every way. Prices will fall as capability increases. The consumer wins all the way around.

Not everyone will be a winner. Old school RAM, flash, and hard drive manufactures will have an uphill fight to remain relevant. Their investors will suffer as the share value of these companies fall. Mergers and acquisitions will contract the industry like a collapsing blackhole. History repeats. How many steam locomotive or buggy whip manufactures can you name?

21st Century I.P.

IMG_3672
This in response to a 30 second clip of Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild as the sound track to The Race.

How do other folks manage to upload entires albums, movies, etc. to YouTube and Vimeo?

I have reblogged an earlier rant below.

More on The Race in my next post. Stay tuned …

Contrafactual

RANT

Hey Googstapos … To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, “You’ve got at lot of damn gall to come after folks who include copyrighted music in their YouTube videos when you collect and store FOREVER every damn bit of personal information you can about us to be used against us to try to sell us crap we don’t need!”

OK … That about sums up the rest of this post. This is an incoherent rant. Deal with it.

Weggieboy’s comments on my JOSIV5 post hit a nerve.

Now I am not a lawyer and I don’t even play one on TV, so I have no legal insight here. But consider the following: let’s say

    I invite you to my house to listen to my LP record of C. W. McCall’s Convoy
    I invite you to my house to listen to my 8-track of C. W. McCall’s Convoy
    I invite you to my…

View original post 1,050 more words

Cubicle

According to Wikipedia, [the] office cubicle was created by designer Robert Propst for Herman Miller, and released in 1967 under the name “Action Office II”. 

However, the first famous use of the concept of the cubicle did not occur until 1984. That would be George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1948).

It was nearly eleven hundred, and in the Records Department, where Winston worked, they were dragging the chairs out of the cubicles and grouping them in the centre of the hall opposite the big telescreen, in preparation for the Two Minutes Hate.

The cubicle is mentioned thirteen times in Orwell’s 1984 and at times is a major plot device. Then as now the cubicle was/is a cramped, privacy-free, dehumanizing, uniform workspace where your every move is open to observation and your every word can be heard by all.

• • •

So the next time you report to your cubicle for work, just remember, Big Brother is watching.

1984

I am currently re-reading George Orwell’s 1984, published interestingly enough in 1948. There is talk of yet another remake of the novel into a movie (see IMDB), the first being in 1956, the later in … conveniently enough … 1984.

A world constantly at war, justifying constant surveillance, sound familiar?

In truth, it appears to be modeled more after the worst (truth and fiction) of the old Soviet Union, yet it could easily be remade to reflect more modern times (even down to the flat panel vid screens hanging on the walls and cubicles for the workers, except that the cubicles of Orwell’s 1984 appear to be bigger than the ones I am used to seeing).

If you had to read it in grade school and have long forgotten it … or have never read it … go get a copy and read it. Amazon, iBooks, used book stores – all good places to buy it on the cheap.

1984 may not have been like “1984”, but 2014 has just enough similarities to make one ever so slightly uncomfortable if one thinks about it too much.

Also just over 30 years ago …

The Near Future of Space Travel

An Essay

This week saw the crash and burn of two commercial space ships; one manned, the other unmanned. Regardless of how commonplace spaceflight seems to have become it is still dangerous business. As Elon Musk quipped when a SpaceX test vehicle self-destructed (as intended) when something went haywire over the McGregor Texas test site, “Rockets are tricky“.

Continue reading The Near Future of Space Travel

Walmart, CVS, others boycott Apple Pay

Think about what they’re doing.” wrote Daring Fireball’s John Gruber on Saturday. “They’re turning off NFC payment systems — the whole thing — only because people were actually using them with Apple Pay. Apple Pay works so well that it even works with non-partner systems. These things have been installed for years and so few people used them, apparently, that these retailers would rather block everyone than allow Apple Pay to continue working.”

“I don’t know that CVS and Rite Aid disabling Apple Pay out of spite is going to drive customers to switch pharmacies” writes Gruber. “But I do know that CurrentC is unlikely to ever gain any traction whatsoever.”

CurrentC is the app MCX developed for use on smartphones. Josh Constine gave it a close look in Techcrunch yesterday and came to the same conclusion Gruber did: It’s a system designed not to make consumers’ lives easier, but to do an end run around the credit card companies.

Source: Fortune

Spoon Theory

In my reblogged post immediately before this, weggieboy referenced the Spoon Theory.

So sitting here in the ER with nothing else to do (if you have ever been in the ER, you know that it is not unlike Waiting for Godot), I read Spoon Theory and found it to be an excellent explanation of what it is like to live day-to-day with a chronic illness.

If you have a chronic illness and need to explain what it is like to others, or if you know someone with a chronic illness and want a better understanding of what they are dealing with, I recommend reading Spoon Theory.

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

The True “Hero” of Breaking Bad

A year later … spoiler alert

Nicholas Conley

Before we begin:

WARNING, THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE BREAKING BAD FINALE.  YOU ARE NOW WARNED!

breakbad_duo

 Some straight like you, giant stick up his ass, age what, 60? He’s just gonna break bad?

– Jesse Pinkman

If there’s one thing that last Sunday’s epic Breaking Bad finale, Felina, demonstrated, it was that—from the beginning to the end, from the start to the finish, the plunge to the crash—Breaking Bad was a Greek tragedy about a man named Walter White, as he went from Mr. Chips to Scarface, repressed high school chemistry teacher “Mr. White” to commanding drug kingpin “Heisenberg.”  In the end, Walter’s story finally comes full circle; he returns “back from the dead,” moving through the landscape like a ghost, tying up all of the loose ends that his reign of terror left behind.

But even though Walter has always been our protagonist, our eyes and…

View original post 2,312 more words

Bendgate

Op-Ed

No pictures, no links, no embedded videos.

By now surely you and everyone else in the world has heard of Bendgate. The iPhone 6 Plus can be bent. It’s thin, it’s light, it’s a large, it’s flat, it’s aluminum. The laws of physics and material strength properties apply.

For Apple to have made a phone this large and thin and light and also have it be impervious to bending, one of the following things would have to change: the material the back is made of, the shape of the back, or the thickness of the back.

Thicker aluminum would make it stronger and heavier and more expensive. Titanium would make it stronger but much more expensive. Steel would make it much stronger and much heavier. I can only assume that Apple choose the grade of aluminum that they did based on a combination of strength and price point.

A curved back would make it stronger. A corrugated back would make it much stronger. Either would make it thicker. Either could be considered less aesthetically pleasing.

Making the iPhone 6 Plus thicker or at least making the back thicker would make the phone … well, thicker … and heavier.

There’s another way to make the iPhone 6 Plus stronger and thicker and heavier. Buy a case for it. There are sure to be a variety of cases for the iPhone 6 Plus. Many people religiously buy cases for their phones anyway. Why should this be any different?

If you watch the videos you see that a fair amount of stress must be applied to bend the iPhone 6 Plus. It’s not like you laid it on the table with half of it on the table and half of it off and came back in an hour and found it bent at 90 degrees as if it were in a Salvador Dali painting. You have to try very hard to bend it. Or you have to sit on it. Or do you have to wear very tight pants.

I sport a naked iPhone 5S. It gets its own pocket … in the front. I often take it out of my pocket when I sit down. I don’t want to put it in the case, so I have to be extra careful with it. The same would be true for an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus.

This is much ado about nothing. This is in the same category as people who intentionally microwave their phones. Or shoot arrows at them. Or see what it actually takes to destroy them. On YouTube, where the goal is to get as many views as possible.

Might be a good time to buy some AAPL stock, what with the price drop and all …

The Cost of Ignorance

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.

We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

Carl Sagan

Continue reading The Cost of Ignorance

Women are the Warriors …. our times call for!!

It Is What It Is

WW1

~~August 31, 2014~~ 

Women are the warriors our times call for

NAWarrior

“As it appears in ….. “

https://www.facebook.com/AaronPaquetteArt

https://www.facebook.com/AaronPaquetteArt?fref=photo

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Some people make the mistake of thinking women are only gatherers … gardeners … that they can only dig and pick and cultivate and hide.

I tell you that women are the strongest, smartest and most dangerous hunters the world has ever seen. Individually, they may be physically overpowered, but in planning, in vision, in purpose and explosive action, they can’t be beat. Any honest man will admit there is nothing that fills them with awe so much as their partner when she has made up her mind.

She has become an unstoppable, indomitable will. If it’s against him, he’d better start running!

War5

There’s a narrative that women are weak, that they’re vulnerable, that they are somehow less intelligent or capable than a man. Well, they said that about serfs, about slaves, about people…

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A Brief History of Mars

Copyright © 2014 by Christian Bergman, All rights reserved.

All people, places, and events are fictional … except when they aren’t.

• • •

In the distant past, a forgotten shepherd stares up at the sky, studying the bright red dot that drifts night to night among the background of stars.

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Continue reading A Brief History of Mars

Machines at War 3

MaW3

Do I look like a gamer? Look here. (Don’t answer that)

Ok, so I suck at First Person Shooters. Number 2 son calls me “the turret”.

But I do like head-to-head Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games. My friend and I used to enjoy playing each other on Command and Conquer Red Alert for iPad. That is, until we discovered MaW3. Without a doubt the best military RTS game, bar none, is Machines at War 3 by ISOTOPE 244.

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Available for iOS, Mac, and Windows on the iPhone and iPad App Store, Mac App Store, Steam, and directly from ISOTOPE 244.

I can’t say enough positive about this game. Don’t take my word for it. Read the review links at ISOTOPE 244. This is one amazing and phenomenal game. James Bryant has accomplished a tour de force. It is elegant, masterful, and flawless. It even plays well on a iPhone 5s.

If you like the RTS genre, please – please, check out MaW3.

And now back to skirmish mode … (Roger that Sir! Reinforcements, we need reinforcements. A ha ha ha ha, taste my laser! Oh the humanity.)

We Choose To Go To The Moon

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, speaking to incoming freshman students at Rice University, Houston, Texas

Continue reading We Choose To Go To The Moon

A Brief History of Everything

Continue reading A Brief History of Everything

Elon Musk: an exceptional innovator

My hero 🙂

World Of Innovations

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla. In these two companies, products manufactured have never been proposed before. For SpaceX (USA), the company is able to sell a rocket launch for satellites for 12000 dollars / kg as cost for Ariane 5 (Europa) is 23000 dollars / kg and for Proton (Russia), 18000 dollars / kg.

As ILIAD for French Telecommunication, SpaceX is completely redefine the market of space rocket launch. He obliges restructuring Safran (Ariane) into Airbus group in June 2014.

Elon Musk is also the CEO of Telsa, a company selling only electric cars in USA! Elon Musk is a serial creator, as he was the creator of Paypal sold to Ebay in the 2000’s years.

“If a company depends on its patents is that it does not innovate or when it does not innovate fast enough.” It is with these words Elon Musk justifies his…

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Rum Goddess …

… from the lower east side

Last month while making a pilgrimage to my old stomping grounds to attend to family matters, I hooked up with Pegasuspilot after a 27 year hiatus. I introduced him to OCTOMORE, and he introduced me to Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 rum. I left him with the open bottle of OCTOMORE and he gifted me with a fresh bottle of Zacapa.

As I write this I am finishing the Zacapa (drunk from a silver cup … also gifted to me). Thankfully the Zacapa is a fraction of the price of the OCTOMORE and apparently available locally.

I have never fancied myself to be a rum drinker, but Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 is sweet nectar of the gods. Bottled at 40% ABV, “FROM VIRGIN SUGAR CANE & BOTTLED AT HIGH ALTITUDE”, Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 from Guatemala is a treat that anyone can afford. This is sipping rum that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in mixed drinks. If you like rum, look for it. If you like single malt scotch, look for it. It is a delicious diversion. To me it doesn’t taste like traditional rum. It is sweeter and smoother.

Oh no … I just poured the last drop of Zacapa into my silver cup. Yum yum yum. Thankfully the mellowing agents in Ron Zacapa Centenario 23 won’t allow me to be sad.

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So good, you’ll do the Swinburne Stomp

How many?

Can you guess?

How many nuclear devices has humanity detonated since the first one at Trinity New Mexico?

I’ll give you a hint …

1 – Trinity NM
2 – Hiroshima
3 – Nagasaki
4 – that one in the Pacific
10 – a few more in the Pacific (Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands)
50 – a bunch at the US Nevada Test Site
100? 200? 500? (All of the testing by all of the nations)
1091?

Continue reading How many?

Toyota to buy Tesla?

First clue …

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Touch the image above to read the full article.

The above article recounts that Toyota already owns shares in Tesla and sold Tesla the plant where the Model S is made. Furthermore Tesla provides the entire electric drivetrain for the Rav4 EV, a “compliance car” sold only in California to satisfy regulations requiring auto manufactures sell a certain number of zero-emission vehicles. Tesla expects to finish supplying Toyota this year.

Continue reading Toyota to buy Tesla?

Ex-Samsung Lawyer …

… Admits Samsung Couldn’t Tell the Truth if their Lives depended on it

Strong words

Read the full article at Patently Apple

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The Patently Apple article is a synopsis of an article originally published by Vanity Fair.

 

Disclaimer: This blog is written and maintained on an Apple iPhone 5s using the Automattic WordPress for iOS app.

WP7

See WP0 and The Wahls Protocol

Seventh Day on the Wahls Protocol

Mrs and I have a combined weight loss of 8 – 10 pounds.

I suspect we are not eating enough, but we are stuffing ourselves and can only eat so much.

We need to eat more meat.

All in all we are feeling the same or better, loosing weight, allegedly getting better nutrition, and definitely not going hungry.