Saturday, June 16, 2018

Small things 15 Jun

  • Is it me, or ever since we started carrying cell phones, it's bad form to push someone into a pool. Once cell phones become waterproof across the board, does that mean we can expect pool pushings again?
  • If time stopped for 5 seconds, how would the stoppage of time be timed (to 5 seconds) without time?
  • Conversation already happening: 20 something: what's the origin of that save icon? 50 something: that's what a floppy disk looked like. 20 something: what's a floppy disk? 
  • "If I could give you one last piece of advice, it would be this... Don't ever get off your parents' wireless plan. Ride that train as long as possible." ~Jimmy Fallon keynote at Stoneman Douglas graduation
  • I'd like to go work for Microsoft and be on the team that renames everything in new versions of Windows or Office. You know, the people who figured Windows Explorer should now be File Explorer, Control Panel should be Settings, Out of Office Assistant should be Automatic Replies......
  • Chat: Cnt   Email: I can't   Term paper: Lo, though I find that I am unable to can.

Am I still in the picture?

Pics of people trying to sell mirrors.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - the internet.

A true doggy bag

What Facebook collects about us

A partial list:

  • Facebook records your mouse movements. This helps them recognize that you are not a robot.
  • Another way Facebook distinguishes that you're human is by monitoring whether your browser window is "foregrounded or backgrounded."
  • Facebook collects a lot of data about your devices, including your battery level, signal strength, and available storage space.
  • Your operating system, browser type, file names, and plugins are also fair game.
  • Facebook knows your mobile operator (if you're using it on your phone), internet service provider, and IP address, as well as your cookie data, time zone, and internet connection speed.
  • Facebook said "in some cases" it monitors devices around its users or on the same network, so it "can do things like help users stream a video from their phone to their TV."
  • The signals of your device are also monitored, including Bluetooth and information about nearby Wi-Fi access points. Nearby "cell towers" are also known to Facebook (if you're using it on your phone).
  • Facebook hoovers up your GPS location, camera information, and photos if you don't lock down your settings (on your phone or tablet). Call logs and SMS log history are also recorded if users choose to sync their Android devices or upload data.
  • Data about your "online and offline actions" and purchases from third-party providers is collected, in addition to information about the "games, apps, or accounts" people use.

Things I learned lately 15 Jun

  • In 15 years in Afghanistan, no counter-narcotics effort undertaken by the US, it partners, or the Afghan government has led to sustained reductions in poppy cultivation or opium production.
  • Minimum wage would have to be over $20 an hour in many states to be able to afford renting a one bedroom apartment.
  • "We have given all of our employees, 100%, standing desks. If you can stand for a while, then sit, and so on and so forth, it's much better for your lifestyle."  ~Tim Cook, Apple CEO
  • Cats are being trained to smuggle cell phones into Costa Rica prisons.
  • A cure to the common cold may be coming in the future that makes the human body inhospitable to the many cold viruses themselves.
  • Chromebooks (laptops running the Google Chrome OS versus Windows, etc) now outsell Macbooks and Windows laptops, especially to schools.
  • There are 12 planetariums in Canada (according to wikipedia). The Montreal Planetarium is shown.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Video games at work

Clay, seal and wax

So after punishing my car's paint for 5 years, I wanted to give it a spa day by getting a proper detailing done.

Normally, I get the car detailed every spring, but I only get the insides cleaned up, to remove the build up of dust, dirt, coffee spills, window film and winter salt etc. on the carpet.

This time I decided to add a proper exterior detailing as well to get the paint back to like-new condition. After 5 years, it was starting to look (and feel) a bit nasty and there were chips exposing metal now. For the record - I never wax my car and routinely wash in a self serve car wash with high pressure, but no brush.

I chose the option of clay bar, then sealer, then wax. I have never done this before - on any car. The price is the reason. For the uninitiated, the clay bar is used to strip off all the contaminants from the paint surface. Off comes the pollution, tar, overspray, brake dust, everything. Then they seal it for a layer of protection. I opted to add a good coat of wax for extra protection and to make it smooth and shiny.

Before I dropped the car off, they had me run my finger along the paint to feel how rough it was. It doesn't feel like that anymore. It is smooth as butter. And shiny. It looks very much like it just came off the showroom floor. They had to work a bit harder on my car, because there was a lot of paint over-spray on my windows and any black trim on my doors, etc. from body work that had been done post-hail damage back in 2014. That's mostly gone now. My windows have not been cleaner or more transparent and streak-free than now.

I have to hand it to the crew at OCDetailing in Airdrie, they did a bang up job. It was expensive, but it was worth it.

[disclaimer: not my car in pic]

SSsshhhh!! I clean...

Human: Why are you licking me?

Cat: SSsshhhh!! I clean...

No to regulating streaming in Canada

Whenever I write about the arts now, I think I'm writing with a lot more awareness of what it's like to work in the arts in Canada. My altered perception is in part thanks to my limited involvement with Loose Moose. I got to know real artists, living artists, starving artists, upcoming artists, some of whom would go on to become involved in television, global theatre and other Canadian projects. So I try to be sensitive to the reality that it's not easy to be an artist, nor is it easy to achieve success in the arts in this country. I'm also aware that artists generally agree with the CanCon (Canadian content) protectionism that the Canadian government provides to help artists and their projects thrive. I kind of understood when CanCon was introduced for television and radio, but at the same time I didn't quite get it, because I have always felt that good Canadian content is good enough to stand on its own. So I was never sure beyond a doubt that it needed protection through legislation. But then, I'm not an artist, so my thoughts on the matter may be misinformed. I write this preamble because I'd like my artist friends to forgive my possible ignorance or naivety.

After reading an article a few days ago that the CRTC is recommending to the government of Canada to regulate all streaming services, and perhaps force them to financially or otherwise support Canadian content, I've finally had enough. I've been on a rant to anyone who will listen, exclaiming that the CRTC, in my humble opinion, has gone too far. Whether or not Canadian radio or television requires legislation to ensure its survival, is a debate we'll possibly continue to have for many years. But to suggest that streaming services, which are not the same as public over-the-air broadcasting services, and that we pay to enjoy, shouldn't be subject to the same rigorous regulatory oversight and assistance. Let's face it, part of the appeal of subscribing to Netflix and other streaming services, is that you get a mix of content in parallel. Unlike broadcast television in this country, where we have a tsunami of channels offering a lot of content that probably couldn't sustain itself without help, and is subjectively of mediocre quality, with a few gems. Streaming is the equivalent of one big channel with stuff for everyone, buffet style. The appealing content survives and the weak content dies, as it should. Lo and behold, there is even Canadian content on Netflix! Why? Because there is some stuff made in Canada that is good enough to be bought by a streaming service.

If we allow this regulation of video streaming to happen, they'll be coming for Spotify next. No thank you. I like my streaming just the way it is. It's the buffet where I can eat what I like and ignore the rest. I don't want my consumption of burgers (which I love) to subsidize the funding of liver (not loving so much). There's a reason you don't see liver in a typical buffet people.

I'm actively looking for a petition to tell the CRTC to keep its hands off streaming media and if I find one, I'll let you know. Meanwhile, I called them and lodged a complaint. If you agree with me, you should too.

Things I learned lately 9 Jun

  • The states that will be hardest hit by Canada's response to US steel and aluminum tariffs are Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
  • After deploying the National Guard at the US-Mexico border, the number of illegal border crossings and arrests continues to rise, with no end in sight.
  • As coffee made its way out of Ethiopia to the rest of the world, it was an insanely controversial drink. The fact that people loved and enjoyed it was enough to brand it as sinful. Ottoman Sultan Murad IV took note of coffee's popularity and set out to destroy the coffeehouses of Istanbul in 1633. Being caught drinking coffee in public would get you beaten on the first offence, a second offence meant death.
  • Banza pasta noodles, made from chickpeas, have protein, fibre and 40% fewer carbs than traditional pasta.
  • Supposedly, Hotwire offers steep car rental discounts by offering opaque booking (no clue what agency until you arrive).
  • West Wing staff intentionally insert grammatical errors into Twitter messages they draft for Donald Trump, seeking to mimic his unconventional style.
  • If you visit Google Maps (satellite view) and zoom out far enough, you'll have the option to explore several planets and moons in our own solar system.

Results of the 2018 Ontario provincial election

41% of the vote got 61% of the seats (PC).
34% of the vote got 32% of the seats (NDP).
19% of the vote got 6% of the seats (Lib).
5% of the vote got 1% of the seats (Grn).

Friday, June 01, 2018

Small things 1 Jun

  • Apparently, you can be a champion for green technology and green culture, but you're not allowed to make money doing it.
  • Apparently, you can't be a champion for green technology and culture if you fly, drive, heat a house with oil or gas, own more than one house, etc.
  • Apparently, you can justify giving up trying to wean yourself off of oil because 'some' countries aren't doing it. Looking for proof these 'some' countries exist. For the record, China is definitely greening.
  • Apparently, you can refuse to allow more oil to go through your territory, and then complain when one threatens to allow less oil to go through your territory.
  • Apparently, $1.35 per litre of gasoline is outrageous. ~Said nobody who lives in Europe......
  • Apparently, it's not logical, practical, or possible to go greener if your economy depends on fossil fuels. ~Said nobody who lives in Norway......
  • Apparently, fossil fuel is the only way to create revenue. Unless you live in Iceland, where they are 100% on renewable energy.
  • Apparently, it's not logical, practical, or possible to guarantee equal wages for men and women. ~Said nobody who lives in Iceland, where it's the law.

It was fun while it lasted No Man's Sky

Well, I uninstalled No Man's Sky from my computer. I played it off and on for a few months and finally had enough.

I wasn't interested in the missions. I wasn't interested in finding the centre of the galaxy, which is the ultimate goal of the game. I just wanted to explore. And I did. A lot. I'd zoom into a planetary system, swoop down onto a planet or moon, mine some minerals, etc., discover some plants and wildlife. I'd pillage old settlements and investigate any artifact I found. Then I'd take the stuff I'd mined and sell it at the nearest space station. If I saw a better spaceship, I'd buy it. If I found a better weapon / mining tool, I'd get it. I killed any animals that attacked me. I talked to anyone I ran into at the space station. Of course, they all want the same things, but I won't spoil it for you. Then I moved on to another system, having no idea where I was going. Repeat. Repeat. Again and again.

So, as you can see, the main issue I have with this ground-breaking, gorgeous, self-generating virtual universe is that I got bored. Every system had pretty much the same things to mine. They all had identical space stations with virtually identical characters. The worlds all had animals that were weird and either looked harmless or like they could eat you. You could blast off and explore a different planet, or leave the system and move on to the next one, but you'd find that after a while, they all start to look the same.

I even tried to fight the boredom by building a home base and having a place to come home to. But when you don't have any unexpected guests coming over, it becomes a lonely place. If all you're doing in this game is roaming without purpose, it's going to get tedious sooner or later.

So as good as this game is, as amazing as it is to explore a virtual, contextually generated universe, unless the creators throw in some unexpected curve balls, there's only so much you can do. Which I think is hilarious. Because you'd think that having the ability to explore space, even if it's not real, would be the most exciting thing ever. It is. But only for a while. What would make the experience more complete is risk and unexpected variation. Your ship needs to malfunction. The animals need to kill you. Maybe if you mine the wrong thing, it should pollute the planet and kill all the wildlife. Then the wildlife police arrest you and you die in space prison. Maybe the planet needs to swallow you up in a tsunami or space-quake. You need to run into aliens everywhere, in space, planet-side, not just in a space station. And they need to present you with risk. Aliens need to either want to be buddies, or mortal enemies, or something in between. When you try to sell your stuff, there needs to be times when they're not interested. And the totally unexpected needs to happen. Maybe you get kidnapped and have to find your way out. Maybe an alien military shows up in your current system and starts blasting everything in sight, you caught in the cross-hairs of a galactic war. Maybe that fleet of ships docked just beside the space station is a luxury resort fleet and you can go inside and eat uncooked space oysters and die.

So thanks No Man's Sky, for giving me a glimpse of what's possible in a virtual universe where I get free access to anything that exists. But I've seen enough for now and I'm too bored to stick around. I'm going back to real life, where we haven't really been to space and the world presents me with a new adventure every day.

I vote for this as dumbest thing said all year (so far)

She can dance, he can run!

If you want to see how far we've come in the world of bionic limbs, you need to see this TED talk.

Things I learned lately 1 Jun

  • China is now producing more steel than the rest of the world combined.
  • The Volkswagen ID Buzz, the next version of the VW microbus, is due in 2022 and will be fully electric.
  • The first known instance of the word "toast" being used to mean dead, finished, or doomed was when Bill Murray said "This chick is toast!" in Ghostbusters. The line was ad-libbed to boot.
  • The word 'derp' first appeared in the movie BASEketball in 1998, starring Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
  • 4 in 10 Americans can't fund a $400 emergency expense without borrowing.
  • There are 7 countries already at, or near 100% renewable power: Iceland (100%), Paraguay (100%), Costa Rica (99%), Norway (98.5%), Austria (80%), Brazil (75%), and Denmark (69.4%). The main renewables in these countries are hydro power, wind, geothermal, and solar.
  • How much a one bedroom apartment costs to rent in various New York Neighbourhoods: East Harlem - $3258; Theatre District - $3634; Hell's Kitchen - $3648; East Village - $4055; Flatiron District - $4122; Greenwich Village - $4137; Battery Park - $4305; Little Italy - $4389.
  • Roughly half of Americans expect self-driving cars to become the norm within 10 years.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Minor sidenote

Small things 17 May

  • Whoever suggested that whiskey or brandy was good to provide relief from a cold or flu likely wasn't a doctor, but I bet they sure loved whiskey and brandy. In fact I propose that those who continue to offer this advice are also bona fide whiskey lovers.
  • Five syllables here; Seven more syllables there. Are you happy now?
  • Poem by Hungry Cat:

I lick your nose.
I lick your nose again.
I drag my claws down your eyelids.
Oh, you're up? 
Feed me.

  • Proton: Electron! Where the hell are you?   Electron: I'm not sure. I can tell you where I might be. Does that help?

  • In biology, multiplication and division kinda mean the same thing.
  • When they say "We're letting you go," what they really mean is "We're making you go."
  • If you ever say "I don't care" and people don't believe you, just wave your hands in the air....

Cause a stir...... LOL

Just another day in NYC

Here's some really great footage of a typical day in New York City in 1911. Unlike similar video from that era, this has been time corrected to look more natural, with sound added for effect.

I love the real look at how prevalent horse and carriage was and how carriages, the new motor cars and trolleys jockey for position on the streets, with no traffic lights or stop signs. The fashion is fascinating as well.

Things I learned lately 17 May

  • Before the 17th century, just 5% of Europeans could read or write. Today, more than 90% of the world under age 25 can read and write.
  • There are only 10 foods that all nutritionists agree are really good for you. Blueberries. Leafy greens. Avocados. Beans. Garlic. Lemon. Chia seeds. Sprouts. Quinoa. Wild salmon.
  • Foxconn, the company that makes iPhones, employs 1.3 million people in China. One factory in Zhengzhou alone, employs 350,000 people.
  • Sunsets on Mars are blue.
  • The 588th Night Bomber Regiment, aka the 'Night Witches', were an all-female group of Russian fliers who went on bombing raids by the light of the moon in plywood biplanes. The pioneering women dropped more than 23,000 tons of bombs on Nazi targets, becoming a crucial Soviet asset in winning World War II. The Germans nicknamed them the Nachthexen, or 'night witches', because the whooshing noise their wooden planes made resembled that of a sweeping broom. This sound was the only warning the Germans had. The planes were too small to show up on radar or on infrared locators. They never used radios, so radio locators couldn't pick them up either. 
  • Turpentine was used as medicine around the 1820s. We know better now, of course.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Small things 11 May

  • What is Groot's email address?  i@mgroot
  • The Ontario Conservative Party paid actors to pretend they were Doug Ford supporters. It was the most comprehensive arts program the Conservatives have ever been involved in.
  • Imagine if every front yard was turned into a vegetable garden........ All we are saying.... Give peas a chance....
  • "Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first." Simon Sinek
  • Whoever invented knock-knock jokes should get a Nobel prize.....
  • If the Silver Surfer and Iron Man teamed up, they'd be alloys.
  • Organic chemistry is difficult. Those who study it have alkynes of trouble.


More misleading media headlines

"A Waymo self-driving van was involved in a crash in Arizona."

Yes, except that it was NOT self-driving at the time, AND it was hit by another vehicle that had swerved into the wrong lane.

So - nothing to see here - move alone......

Homemade Big Mac

A few folks tried to make a homemade version of things McDonald's sells on their menu.

This guy made his version of a Big Mac.

Oh man.

If only this is what you got from McDonalds.

Everything that's wrong with our society summed up in the following headline

"Loblaw shareholders shoot down proposal for living wage."

Things I learned lately 11 May

  • California became the first state in the US to require all new homes to be built with rooftop solar panels. The California Energy Commission voted unanimously in favour of the rule. Starting January 2020 any new home that's 3 stories or less, will need to include energy-harvesting solar panels on top, unless they are in the shade or the roof is too tiny.
  • By 2020, it is estimated that Canada's marijuana industry will be bigger than its alcohol industry, possibly $6.5 billion.
  • 53% of polled Canadians said it's not necessary for couples to tie the knot to spend their lives together, and 1 in 6 said they're not interested in the marriage at all.
  • Google is working on visual positioning for Google Maps (see right). Using AI, Maps will be able to tell exactly where you are using what your phone's camera sees and help guide you to your destination while walking. Using augmented reality, Maps will also superimpose points of interest onto the image you see on the screen.
  • Google Photos will soon be able to automatically add colour to old black and white photos.
  • Americans got 3.4 billion spam calls in April.
  • 250 years ago, 1/3 of children in the world's richest countries didn't live to see their 5th birthday.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Songs that are 40 years old this year (2018)

Blondie - Heart of glass
Cheap Trick - Surrender
Devo - I can't get no satisfaction
Dire Straits - Sultans of swing
Elvis Costello - Pump it up
Talking Heads - Take me to the river
The Cars - Good times roll / Just what I needed
Van Halen - You really got me / Runnin' with the devil
The Police - Roxanne / Can't stand losing you
Bee Gees - Stayin' alive / Night fever
Boney M - Rivers of babylon
Wings - With a little luck
Rolling Stones - Miss you
Taste of Honey - Boogi oogie oogie
Exile - Kiss you all over
Nick Gilder - Hot child in the city
Anne Murray - You needed me
Donna Summer - MacArthur park
Kate Bush - Wuthering heights
10CC - Dreadlock holiday
Rod Stewart - Do ya think I'm sexy?
Van Halen - Aint talkin bout love
Eddie Money - Baby hold on
Gerry Rafferty - Baker street
Styx - Blue coller man
Barry Manilow - Copacabana
Kansas - Dust in the wind
Steely Dan - FM
Genesis - Follow you follow me
Wings - Goodnight tonight
Heart - Heartless / Straight on
Toto - Hold the line
Foreigner - Hot blooded
Gino Vannelli - I just wanna stop
Bonnie Tyler - It's a heartache
Joe Walsh - Life's been good
Sweet - Love is like oxygen
Walter Egan - Magnet and steel
Ace Frehley - New York groove
Bob Seger - Still the same
Al Stewart - Time passages
ELO - Turn to stone
Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London
The Who - Who are you?

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Small things 3 May

  • The only problem with the first 30 minutes of exercise is that only 2 minutes have gone by....
  • Tired of getting parking tickets? Just take your wipers off.
  • Make deals with the devil while you're still a child. Contracts signed by minors aren't legally binding.
  • The risk with getting too high, is that you might order a pizza, and open the box upside down and think they punked you with a crust-only pizza.
  • Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?
  • Sometimes I look at pictures other people have posted online and say things like, "Hey!! I have that shed too!"
  • The word 'nun' is just the letter n doing a cartwheel.
  • When someone says "I need my space", that is NOT an invitation to remove all the furniture from their home.
  • Fake fact: A group of kangaroos is called a kangacrew. No? Kangagang?
  • UPS driver job requirements:

Should be dyslexic
Must be able to ring a doorbell and sprint 30 metres back to truck
Look good in brown shorts
Illegal parking skills beneficial

Socrates vs Nietzsche