Friday, February 16, 2018

From the movie 'Play it again Sam'

Allan: That's quite a lovely Jackson Pollack, isn't it?
Museum Girl: Yes, it is.
Allan: What does it say to you?
Museum Girl: It restates the negativeness of the universe. The hideous lonely emptiness of existence. Nothingness. The predicament of Man forced to live in a barren, Godless eternity like a tiny flame flickering in an immense void with nothing but waste, horror and degradation, forming a useless bleak straitjacket in a black absurd cosmos.
Allan: What are you doing Saturday night?
Museum Girl: Committing suicide.
Allan: What about Friday night?

Small things 16 Feb

  • Athletes taking a knee isn't a new thing. Remember Tonya Harding?
  • Millennial culture is having two wildly different conversations with the same person, on two different apps at the same time.
  • We'll, we'll, we'll................ if it isn't autocorrect....

Hybrid thinking

Ray Kurzweil knows a lot about how brains work. And he has some mindblowing predictions about how technology will enable hybrid thinking in the near future.

Here's an excerpt:

"Five to 10 years from now, search engines will actually be based on not just looking for combinations of words and links but actually understanding, reading for understanding the billions of pages on the web and in books. So you'll be walking along, and Google will pop up and say, "You know, Mary, you expressed concern to me a month ago that your glutathione supplement wasn't getting past the blood-brain barrier. Well, new research just came out 13 seconds ago that shows a whole new approach to that and a new way to take glutathione. Let me summarize it for you.""

That's nothing.....

Things I learned lately 16 Feb

  • There are 4 phases of matter, gas, liquid, solid, and plasma.
  • There's was (is?) a vacancy at NASA, and it may have one of the greatest job titles ever conceived: planetary protection officer. It pays well, between US$124,000 and US$187,000 annually.
  • Although the Empire State Building opened 1 May 1931, it didn't become profitable until 1950. The tower took only 410 days to build.
  • Fiat Chrysler is joining the self-driving alliance led by BMW Group, Intel and its Mobileye subsidiary, to partner in developing an autonomous driving platform.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Tesla is making their new roadster

"The new Tesla roadster will be the fastest production car ever made. 


It'll do the quarter mile in 8.9 seconds. I won't say what the actual top speed is, but it's above 250 mph. This is for the base model. These numbers sound nutty, but they're real. 620 mile range. That's 1000 km range. 

This will be the first time an electric vehicle breaks 1000 km..... a production electric vehicle will travel more than 1000 km on a single charge at highway speed. This thing will have 3 motors, so it's all wheel drive. 10,000 Newton-metres of torque. Do you know what that means? It's stupid. It's got a removable roof and it has tons of storage.
~Elon Musk

0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds. 0-100 mph in 4.2 seconds. For reference, the Corvette ZR1 has 970 nm torque and does 0-60 in 3.1 seconds.

The new Tesla roadster will cost $200,000 and is scheduled to be available in 2020.

We are plants!

Small things 9 Feb

  • The difference between North America and Europe is that North Americans think 100 years is a long time and Europeans think that 500 kilometres is a long way.
  • You know those hotel door signs that say "do not disturb"? Do they make those to be worn around your neck?
  • I don't know why it's called a fire exit. It's where the people exit. Just sayin'.....

Happy Danes

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author, was talking to Business Insider about why Danes are so happy. Excerpt:

"Every Dane, from the moment they're born, expects free healthcare, free education. When they get into college they expect to be paid to go to school. If they have a child, they expect to have 10 months of paid maternity or paternity leave. And they expect to be able to retire absolutely securely for the rest of their life.

Because their government takes care of all the necessities of life — nothing can ever go too wrong in their lives — they're free to pursue a job that really speaks to their passions.

Ambition is not greatly celebrated. They’re not always buying new clothes and new cars and trying to keep up with the Joneses, and that gives them more time to pursue their interests.

So, people are good at architecture and they create the best restaurants in the world and furniture design, jobs suggestive of flow — of optimal using your talents, so that time can absolutely disappear.

The bigger part of happiness is getting rid of the stresses of our daily lives. So, this notion of having your health insurance covered, your education covered, and your retirement covered is actually very huge."

Dan Buettner is the author of "The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World's Happiest People.

Denmark is consistently rated as having the best work-life balance in the world.

Things I learned lately 9 Feb

  • The Berlin wall has been gone for as long (and longer by the day) as it stood.
  • Disney employees never point with one finger, as it's rude in some cultures. As a side note, while I was in the military, we were taught to indicate (point) with all 4 fingers, basically like the 'salute hand'.
  • New York state will be installing 2.4 gigawatts of wind power by 2030. A $6 billion off shore wind farm is being built south of Long Island.
  • Spam is an enduring staple of Hawaiian cuisine. Filipino-Americans and Korean-Americans are into it as well.
  • Twinkies used to be filled with banana cream pre-WWII.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Small things 3 Feb

  • Ever notice that in not one of the Fast & Furious movies do they ever stop for gas?
  • When a Facebook friend says they're 'off to sleep', is that a challenge to immediately engage them in conversation and see how long you can keep them up? 
  • When my abs hurt so much from laughing really hard..... that counts as a workout, right?
  • Whatever you do, don't drag the My Computer icon into the Recycle Bin. Don't say I didn't warn you......

Classical powder

I know it's just a video of a powder surfer (this is NOT snowboarding - no bindings) going down a hill through trees, but man, did it ever touch me right here.

The visuals combined with the music are inspiring.

Things I learned lately 3 Feb

  • Americans flock to Los Algodones, a Mexican border town, to get dental work done on the cheap. A crown goes for USD$300. There are 350 dentists working in this town. There 5500 people living there. Los Algodones also has numerous plastic surgeons, optometrists and pharmacies.
  • Chocolate is under threat from climate change. Cacao plants can only grow within a narrow strip of rainforested land roughly 20 degrees north and south of the equator, where temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant. Over half of the world's chocolate comes from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. But these areas won't be suitable for chocolate in the next few decades due to rising temperatures.
  • Statistics Canada's figures indicate more than 21% of Montrealers can speak at least three languages, compared with 11% of Torontonians and 10% of Vancouverites.
  • If you intend to upgrade to a 4K HDR TV, your existing 1080p video switching receiver may not be compatible. It needs HDMI 2.0 for standard 4K, HDMI 2.0a for HDR content, and HDCP 2.2 to play along with the new copy protection scheme.

Whoaaaaa Whoaaaa oooohhh (the new Rickroll)

Half empty

"Is the glass half full or the glass half empty? I would probably say that the glass is 90-95% full all of the time.

We are so ungrateful for the quality of life that we have. There is always something you can look down on and say: "It is so much worse for that guy."

If it's raining outside in London, it's raining bombs in Syria. If you're unable to go out because of the traffic jam, there are people who are unable to go out for safety reasons. Whatever it is that we have in our life today, compare that to 100 years ago. Where life expectancy was much worse, where health was much worse, look at all of the gadgets we have in our life, look at all of the luxuries we have in our life. And yet, we continue to look at what's missing.

And because we are looking for what's missing, we're by definition breaking the Happiness Equation. If you're looking for what's missing, you're going to find it, and accordingly, the events of life are not going to meet your expectations.

Think of it this way, if you look at your life today and I asked you: "what would you change about it?" And I changed it for you, would you be happier?

I always get people who will tell me: "I'm so unhappy about my job." And I go: "okay you're fired!" And they go: "No no no, hold on, I didn't mean that, I don't want to be fired."

If you really start to appreciate what you have in your life, happiness becomes a much easier task to achieve."

~Mo Gawdat Chief Business Officer, Google X

Friday, January 26, 2018

Small things 26 Jan

  • Eating Tide Pods, eh? That's nothing. Back in our day we snorted Ajax.
  • Words you hope never to find written in icing on the cake: 'Find the toenail!'
  • I don't always have a valid argument. But when I do, it's later that day, in the bath.
  • Why do people say "You've barely 'touched' your food"? Aren't we supposed to eat it?

Marbles, Magnets, and Music (Synchronized)

I can only imagine and wonder in awe how long it took to make this video.

I mean, the synchronization is perfect!

Remember line rider?

Well, this guy created a line rider sequence to sync perfectly with Edvard Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King".

It took a month to create.

Some jokes just write themselves

Things I learned lately 26 Jan

  • In Japan they have gourmet KitKat chocolate bar shops.
  • 82% of new wealth generated on 2017 went to the top 1%. Meanwhile, the poorest 50% of the world saw no increase in their wealth.
  • A company called Heatworks is introducing a counter-top dishwasher, Tetra, that uses graphite electrodes to heat water by exciting the minerals in the water.
  • Artists who have never won a Grammy include Snoop Dogg; Diana Ross; Queen; The Beach Boys; Janis Joplin; Jimi Hendrix; Patsy Cline; The Who; Bjork; Buddy Holly; Rush; The Kinks.
  • Swan Song records was Led Zeppelin's private label. Bad Company were the first band other than Led Zeppelin, signed to it.
  • Led Zeppelin were the first band to insist on a better deal for revenue from concerts, insisting on 90% when the norm had been 60% or less.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Small things 19 Jan

  • A lifeguard at the pool at the Olympics. Why?
  • Gravity is the result of masses interacting with each other. You can witness its effects while driving. If you are driving behind someone and you get close enough to them, the force of gravity will overcome their ability to do the speed limit anymore.....
  • You can distinguish an alligator from a crocodile by paying attention to whether it sees you later, or in a while.
  • You know how you prepare an answer for what you expect will be the next question and it backfires? Like when you're at the cashier expecting to be asked if you want the receipt or not. And the cashier says, "Have a nice weekend." And you say, "No thanks."
  • Remember when your biggest problem of the day was trying to get the ball out from under the car?
  • If a stormtrooper encounters a red shirted crew member of the Enterprise, does the fact that the stormtrooper couldn't hit the broad side of a barn prevent the red shirt from dying? Also, are you mad that I put a Star Wars character in a Star Trek question?
  • It would be fun to host a party where fake alcohol was served and we see if anyone 'acts' drunk.

Myths Canadians have about their military

  • Military members don't pay tax. Not true. We pay EI, CPP/QPP, and income tax. We pay all the taxes a regular civilian does. The only thing we get tax-free is liquor in our own mess on base (or ship).
  • Canadian Armed Forces members don't pay sales taxes when they shop on the military base at Canex Stores. Not true. We pay the same sales tax as anyone else.
  • Military members get a pension equal to their salary when they leave. I wish this were true. We (members who joined in the 1970s and 80s) got 2% of our salary for every year we served.  So a member who retired after 20 years got 40% of an average of their best 6 years' salary. But only if we completed a contract that is eligible for a pension at its conclusion. If you don't fulfill your contract, you don't get a pension.
  • Members who live in barracks live there for free. Not true. We pay for our meals and lodgings, although it works out less than what you'd pay for a small apartment off base. Of course, you don't need to keep your apartment off base ready for inspection.....
  • Join the military, see the world! Sometimes. I got to spend one month in Germany on an exchange program. Other than that, no. My friends got to visit awesome genocidal places like Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Afghanistan. Mentally messed them up royally too.
  • Members know well in advance where they're going next. Not true for deployments, not true for postings either. We were told we were leaving in hours or days for Quebec in the aftermath of the ice storms of 1998. Although I knew I would be posted from Kingston to Calgary 6 months ahead of time, many friends of mine were not that lucky. Some even found out almost last minute that postings had changed location or been cancelled entirely. That's fun for buying a new home and selling your old one, never mind your spouse trying to find a new job and saying goodbye to the old one.
  • Family members of Canadian Armed Forces can fly anywhere in the world for free. Not quite, there is a fee. But more importantly, CF flights are for military or government business first. That doesn't leave much room for standby seats for family members. I've heard too many stories of families stranded somewhere because the flight they might have caught back home was full.
  • Family members of Canadian Armed Forces are taken care of by military doctors and dentists. Nope. They have to get their own doctors and dentists through the province's health system.
  • Members get to choose where they are posted (where they work/live). They can provide a top 3 request list, but there is no guarantee any of their wished for postings will materialize. While in Kingston, I asked for Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. I was offered Shilo and Gagetown. It took a lot of arguing back and forth before I was finally offered Calgary, which I accepted.
  • Members get to keep all of their gear when they leave. If only! No, those awesome mukluks and arctic mitts and everything else goes back. The only thing you get to keep is your dress uniform. Oh, and your underwear and socks. They don't want those back.

Just sayin'

Things I learned lately 19 Jan

  • New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has become the first Western leader ever to be pregnant in office.
  • The person who sang the vocals on Edgar Winter's 'Free Ride' is Dan Hartman, the same person who sang the 1980s hits 'Instant replay' and 'I can dream about you'. Yeah, that Dan Hartman. Bonus trivia: "I can dream about you' was featured in the movie Streets of Fire, but the band performing the song was a fictional vocal group called The Sorels.
  • It is no longer true that storing a modern car battery on a concrete floor is bad for the battery.
  • Nova Scotia's last strip club has closed.
  • Drinking and droning is now illegal in New Jersey.
  • Former American companies. Budweiser, now owned by InBev, Belgium. Ben & Jerry's, now owned by Unilever, Dutch-UK. Burger King, now owned by Restaurant Brands International, Canada. Trader Joe's now owned by Aldi Nord, Germany. General Electric, now owned by Haier, China. American Apparel, now owned by Gildan, Canada. 7-Eleven, owned by Seven & i Holdings, Japan. Sunglass Hut, owned by Luxottica, Italy.
  • In 19th century France, the Paris Morgue had picture windows set up for the public to peer through.

Streaming revenue

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Mercedes B250 5 year update

It's hard to believe that in mid-February 2018, we'll have had our Mercedes Benz B250 for 5 years. I figured it was time for an update. I'll start with a little Q&A.

Q. How many km have you put on it?
A. 191,000 and counting.

Q. Would you buy this car again?
A. Definitely, if I had both the money and the ability to budget for its maintenance.

Q. What are the top 3 things you like about it at this stage?
A. Ease of entry/exit due to higher CUV stance; its perfect size for a couple; the technology.

Q. Any unexpected maintenance?
A. Nothing major. I was a bit surprised that what I thought would be basic replacement repairs cost more than usual, because small parts were inseperable from larger, costlier components. For example, brake repair, coolant thermostat repair and fuel filter replacement cost much more than I was expecting.

Q. Any plans to trade up?
A. Nope. I really like this car. If I had mad money to burn, I might like a GLC 300 or a Tesla.

Q. Do you regret not getting 4Matic all-wheel drive?
A. Not at all. Putting good winter tires is all you need. On any car really.

Q. Are there any features that still impress you?
A. Oh yeah. The self-park is amazing, although not perfect. I love controlling cruise with a wand mounted to the steering wheel shaft.

Q. What one feature does this car need most?
A. A heated steering wheel.

Small things 13 Jan

  • I was looking at someone's bucket list and one of the things was "Have one night stand". Why would you only want one night stand?
  • Imagine if the first rule of religion was the same as the first rule of Fight Club.
  • Dear America: Smarties are like unlabelled M&Ms. Notice the use of the word 'like'. Not 'in fact'.
  • The message that brings me to the edge of lunacy: "There is an unexpected item in the bagging area."
  • The Smart Car. It won't make you look tough, but it will get you out of helping your friends move....
  • Ladies: The next time your man seems to be ignoring what you're saying, slip in "So, my ex called......"

This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you.....

I started using computers back when they weren't even a regular consumer thing yet. You know - the days of 80286 processors? Anyway, when I use a computer, my brain still processes (see what I did there?) what's going on in the background when I turn the computer on.

You know, POST, finding the boot drive, loading the boot loader into RAM, and then the operating system gets loaded into RAM and begins to transform your hardware into a collection of devices that you can interact with.

One of the reasons I typically leave my home desktop on all the time, is that I like not having to wait for that whole process to finish before I can do something. Thankfully, the process has gotten faster in recent years but, you know, instant gratification culture and all that.

Of course, one option other than turning your computer 'off', is to put it into sleep mode. This way, instead of the whole system shutting down and having to be completely rebooted again, the current contents of RAM (everything your computer is actively doing) are copied to the hard drive as one giant file. Then, when you wake it up, it just quickly reloads the session right back into RAM and you continue where you left off. Alternatively, newer computers don't actually copy RAM contents to the hard drive, they just keep the RAM powered up and put pretty much everything else to sleep, which is much faster.

I seldom make use of sleep mode. It makes me nervous for some reason. In my mind, I liken it to putting the computer into suspended animation, a kind of digital prison where the computer isn't allowed to do anything at all while I'm off doing who knows what. I prefer to let my computer use its idle time to run anti-virus scans, perform updates, index files, and whatever else it needs to do to keep itself in tip top shape.

When I close the lid on my Macbook, I silently whisper "There there", as if I'm about to freeze it in carbonite (obligatory Star Wars reference).

Get ready Canada - this is what weed does to your brain....

Things I learned lately 13 Jan

  • Billboards are illegal in Hawaii.
  • No replicable, peer-reviewed scientific study has proven that Vitamin C prevents or helps cure the cold. Same goes for Zinc. Echinacea too.
  • Thomas Edison co-wrote a sci-fi novel, 'Progress'.
  • "Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity. Artists better be prepared for doing a lot of touring, because that's really the only unique situation that's going to be left." ~David Bowie 2002
  • Iceland just made it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work.
  • Movie attendance hit a 25-year low in the US in 2017.