Saturday, January 30, 2016

Cat toes

How casual photography has changed

There was a time when before you took a photograph, you considered how many frames were left on your roll of film in the camera. The closer you were to the end of the roll, the more you chose carefully whether to take the picture. That's because once the roll was full, you had to get it developed and prints made. That cost a bloody fortune.

Now, we take pictures at a whim. Even before a whim. Taking pictures is now second nature.

Imagine someone from the 70s looking at all your pictures. This is me. This too. Also me. My cat. Cat again. Food. More food. Still food......


Things I learned lately - 30 Jan

  • On average, teens get their first smart phone when they're 11.
  • Listening to music while you work makes you less productive, especially if the task requires thought processing. It is fine for monotonous tasks. The best bet is listening to some music before doing intensive work.
  • 100 years ago, if you wanted to get to Perth, Australia from London, that would take you 30 days. The interior of Australia was 40 days' travel, due to the lack of railroads back then.
  • A 2014 Audi SQ5, powered with technology from Delphi, made it 3400 miles from San Francisco to New York City, driving itself 99% of the time. That is the first coast to coast autonomous drive.
  • In post civil war America, tipping was considered offensively un-American.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Greenhouse gas detectors?

We have annoying, loud and attention grabbing carbon monoxide detectors in our homes to alert us to the presence of CO.

Imagine if we had annoying, loud and attention grabbing carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide detectors in nature to alert us to the presence of high concentrations of greenhouse gases and pollutants.

For worst results...

Free Summer Day Camps

One of my experiences spending summers in Trenton, New Jersey as a kid that will always stay with me was the summer camp system they had set up for neighbourhood kids. I don't know if this was a national thing, state-wide, or just something that happened in Trenton.

Every summer in the early to mid 1970s, select playgrounds at schools throughout Trenton hosted free, all-day summer camps during the work week. The school closest to me was the Grace A. Dunn Middle School (pictured). Any kid from the neighbourhood was welcome. I went too, even though I was just a foreign visitor. They didn't care. The camp was run by (I'm guessing) paid local teenagers. There were lots of crafts, games and of course all of the usual things you'd have in a playground of that era. Every day, at noon, a refrigerated truck would arrive and drop off more than enough boxed lunches for all the kids to enjoy. No cost. Needless to say, my parents loved that this was available, as I'm sure all local parents did.

Even better, several times per month, a bus would show up at the playground, and take us to a new destination each time. I got to visit the Benjamin Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Zoo, Fort Dix, the Philadelphia Naval Yards, where I boarded both a mothballed battleship and a submarine. The boxed lunches even came along on these trips. The cost for these trips? Lunches? The camps themselves? Nothing. All paid for by the government. Until the program was cancelled by the Reagan administration.

Who knew?

Things I learned lately - 23 Jan

  • Researchers in Brazil have developed a new anaesthetic technique that could do away with the needle at the dentist's. A small, painless electric current augments a local painkiller (hydrogel, ointment, or spray), and the results is fast-acting and long-lasting.
  • I recently found out that my granddaughter's school is using Chromebooks in the classroom. Looks like Google is getting a foothold in education.
  • Holding your breath when someone sneezes or coughs near you accomplishes nothing.
  • There's a petition trying to stop Kanye West from recording a David Bowie cover album.
  • Oil is now cheaper than bottled water, by volume.
  • Tesla has a semi-autonomous (SA) car on the road now. Volvo plans to have fully autonomous (FA) by 2017. Tesla plans to have FA cars by 2020, as do Google, Ford, Nissan and Toyota. Mercedes is expecting SA by 2016. Audi anticipates FA by 2019.  BMW plans for SA by 2020 and FA by 2025. Honda is planning for SA by 2020 as is Kia.
  • Cinnamon Bun Oreos are a thing. I'm guessing US only.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


If you find yourself in NYC and see this symbol, it's trying to tell you that the item on the menu exceeds the recommended daily intake for sodium.

This could be a fun book

Berlin July 1945

Incredible colour footage showing the situation and utter destruction in Berlin, in summer 1945, just after the end of the Second World War.

For Watt!

Things I learned lately - 16 Jan

  • If an atom were the size of an NFL football stadium, the nucleus would be the size of a pea at the 50 yard line.
  • If the Milky Way were the size of the US, the solar system would be the size of a quarter.
  • Daredevil Gregg Godfrey jumped his semi-truck 166 feet to set a new world record and beat the previous record by more than 100 feet during the festivities at Evel Knievel Days in Butte, Montana.
  • Dutch company VolkerWessels aims to build roads entirely from recycled plastic that has been salvaged from oceans and incineration plants. They are so durable, they should last 50 years or more and are still recyclable after that.
  • You imagine objects via a view from above and tilted. Don't believe me? Ask someone to draw a coffee cup.

Saturday, January 09, 2016


Canadian: I'm going for a 3 hour drive to visit a friend.
Brit: 3 hour drive?! That requires packing. And vacation time off!
Australian: What I would give to only have to drive 3 hours somewhere.

They made me a store!

Earth is really old

This timeline as the distance across the US gives a really good sense of just how late we are in the grand scheme of the earth's total age.

Blew my mind.

In an alternate reality......

Things I learned lately - 9 Jan

  • The 'compare at' price on a price tag at Winners / Home Sense is completely made up.
  • The most popular NHL team in Washington and Oregon is the Vancouver Canucks.
  • YallQaeda and VanillaISIS. That's what mockers are calling the militants in Oregon who took over a federal building.
  • Ayyoub Momen, a staff scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, has invented an ultrasonic clothes drying technology that will dry an article of clothing in less than 30 seconds, using very little electricity.
  • Urinals at the airport in Schipol feature an image of a fly, to encourage men to aim better.
  • 15% of people admit to dropping their phone into the toilet at one time or another.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Words that we need to get rid of

  • Literally
  • Freemium
  • Ping
  • Synergy
  • Actualize
  • Bucketize
  • Spitball
  • Whatevs
  • Deliverables
  • Incentivize
  • Coopetition
  • Rightshoring
  • Hyperlocal
  • Antifragile

I'm Batman!

Uber my dead body

The commercial Uber doesn't want you to see.

How to draw Mickey

Things I learned lately - 2 Jan

  • American Express started as an express mail business.
  • Amy Schumer competed in season 5 of Last Comic Standing. She did not win.
  • WestJet will be phasing out the seat-back screens and instead offering WestJet Connect, which will allow wi-fi access to entertainment and a live map (for free) and access to the internet (for $7.99). You'll have to bring your own device and have an app already installed to use it.
  • Research has found that many wealthy people don't consider income inequality to be an urgent problem because they hardly see any of it in their everyday lives.
  • From January 1st to July 30th 2015, police in the US killed more than 600 people. The last time a police officer shot and killed somebody in Norway was 2006.
  • Nichelle Nichols, the Canadian actress who played Uhura on Star Trek, will be going on a NASA mission. Not into space, but on a special SOFIA mission, which is an airborne observatory on a Boeing 747. She is 82.
  • A man wearing a plastic shopping bag over his face as a mask, walked into a Subway in Coventry, Rhode Island. He walked to the counter and told the teenagers working there to hand over their money. They just ignored the robber. The looked exasperated in security camera video of the incident and became agitated and mumbled something under his breath as he walked out of the business.