Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Could malaria be close to being eliminated? This could have a huge impact on developing nations.

- Good for Bill Burr! File this under when good things happen to good people (who work hard).

- Douglas Adams (RIP) discusses the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

- And speaking of aliens - scientists detect more mysterious radio signals from distant galaxy. And by distant we're talking 3 BILLION light years away. So pump the brakes in the aliens talk. Even if it was from an intelligent source chances are by now something has happened to that civilization.

- Dr Charles Kao, Nobel laureate who revolutionized fiber optics, dies at 84. The modern world owes Dr. Kao tremendous gratitude for his work.

- Interesting - Vladimir Putin's hand picked candidates losing to candidates linked to a party with supposed connections to the mafia? Or are Putin's candidates losing because Russians want to send him a message about his planned pension reforms?

- Fake Gatorade? Who knew?

Bill Simmons

Today is Bill Simmons (the artist formerly known as the Boston Sports Guy) 49th birthday. Happy birthday Bill!

As a reminder here's a column Bill wrote back in September of 2009 where he basically gave up on the New England Patriots. Since that column was written these Patriots have been to 4 Super Bowls and won 2 (both in historic fashion).

I fully expect Simmons to recycle many of the same arguments soon in saying it's time to give up on these 2018 Patriots. He's basically become the West Coast Dan Shaughnessy (and no that's not a compliment).

The Beast of Gévaudan

File this under "You learn something new every day." I had never heard of the beast of Gévaudan but I guess "some consider the creature to be the French equivalent of the Loch Ness Monster."

Robert Louis Stevenson described the beast as "the Napoleon Bonaparte of wolves" while some believe that it was a werewolve (although most attacks came in the morning) or an escaped lion or hyena. The beast is said to have killed eighty-nine people (fifteen women, sixty-eight children, and six men). The deaths were real and so you would have to think the beast was real too.

One of the mysteries of history.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open." Frank Zappa... The word "lock" has seemed to have lost all meaning in the sports betting community... The use of human shields is always a cowardly and depraved act. It appears to me that Dianne Feinstein and the Democrats are basically using the equivalent of human shields as a last ditch effort to forestall the Kanavaugh Supreme Court nomination... Interesting discussion on the 25% import tariff the US places on any light truck not built in America. As much as I'm for free-trade I'd like to know the potential impact on the foreign manufacturers (like Nissan and Toyota) who have chosen to build their light trucks in the USA. Would those jobs remain here if the tariff was repealed?... Fact that may only interest me - Matt Ryan finished 7th in the 2007 Heisman voting. Of the top 10 vote getters only Chase Daniel (4th) and Chris Long (10th) are still active in the NFL. Matt Ryan has by far had the best NFL career of the top 10 finishers that year which was won by Tim Tebow... Conservatives who voted for Evan McMullin in 2016 have serious buyers remorse and many now wish they voted for Jonathan "the Impaler" Sharkey instead. I always viewed McMullin as an opportunistic fraud.. As a Boston sports fan let me say that last night's loss by the Patriots is very disappointing but before you feel any sympathy please remember these Patriots have won us 5 Super Bowls, the Red Sox currently have the best record in baseball and both the Bruins and Celtics are about to start their seasons and fans are very excited. Just the same - I'm going to stay 100% away from sports talk radio today. I have no need for the fellowship of the miserable...

Voyager Spacecraft and Richard Nixon

Outside the Apollo moon landing the Voyager Spacecraft may be NASA's signature program (argue the Mars rover if you like). The thing that often or always gets overlooked is the fact that the Voyager Spacecraft (Voyager I and Voyager II) would have never happened if it wasn't for Richard Nixon.

Yet Nixon never seems to get any credit.

Seriously. Can you find any mention of Nixon in the Wikipedia page on the Voyager program? Without Nixon granting NASA the money specifically for this project this never happens. Without Voyager there's no "pale blue dot". And without Carl Sagan's elegant words the appetite for space exploration probably is not close to what it is today.

Yet Nixon's name comes up less frequently when it comes to the Voyager program than Chuck Berry's.

And if you think I'm trying to give Nixon too much credit please remember that George McGovern stated in no uncertain terms that if he was elected President he was going to cut the space shuttle program and redirect those funds toward domestic programs. Do you think the Voyager science experiment would have got funding if it wasn't Nixon in office?

No chance. Yet Nixon never gets any credit.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Rogue Satellites

Interesting story of how the CEO of Swarm Technologies launched "rogue satellites" - four small satellites called SpaceBees to be exact.  The twist is that the FCC had denied Swarm Technologies permission to launch these satellites but Swarm and their CEO Sara Spangelo did it anyway.

The questions and issues abound.

These SpaceBees are small communications satellites that would create a network allowing Internet connected devices back on Earth to communicate with each other. Among other problems these SpaceBees are too small (10 centimeters x 10 centimeters x 2.8 centimeters) to be tracked back on Earth by the FCC. Swarm argues that if they can track the devices then others including the FCC should be able to as well.

But it is not just the issue of space junk (roughly more than 4,700 defunct satellites and over 29,000 pieces of space debris) littering our orbit. These SpaceBees didn't have permission to be there. What else is up there without permission? Who should control granting permission? How can you disable rogue satellites once in place?

Sounds like we may be getting our Space Force in place just in time. And a Space Fence too!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Because kids don't know any history these days - they probably think "the erection of the Berlin Wall" is something dirty... I find this kind of monitoring by the government just plain scary... Snake Plissken? I thought that guy was dead!... The word "alamo" is Spanish for the cottonwood tree. "Remember the Cottonwood!" just doesn't have the same ring as a rallying cry though... This is funny - well because I don't like Steelers fans... If I were a mad scientist - I'd cross a bunny rabbit with a duck for no better reason than because I could do it and because I think this rabbit-duck would look cool floating on a pond. No I haven't been drinking - why do you ask?... Who cares? I'm guessing that Fitzpatrick having made much more money in his career than Aikman did in his bothers Aikman even if he'd never admit it... 

Happy Hobbit Day!

Today is the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and is celebrated internationally as Hobbit Day.

Be sure to have a second breakfast and maybe a pint or two to celebrate!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Pretty good list of Gangster movies - though I'd say both American Gangster and True Romance belong on the list. Honorable mention to Road to Perdition and though I haven't seen Sexy Beast I did enjoy another under-the-radar Ben Kingsley gangster movie You Kill Me

- Interesting - perhaps a reason to take any Wall Street insiders complaints about China tariffs with a huuuge grain of salt.

- 12 things that Lee Kuan Yew taught me about the world. Very instructive thoughts from the "Warren Buffet of Singapore" via the Farnam Street blog

- Air Force Secretary lays road map to new Space Force

- US credit card fraud down by 75% because of EMV chips. Good! Make sure all of your cards have a chip.

- This is why I won't be buying Ian O'Connor's new book on Bill Belichick. If you want Belichick's story read David Halberstam's Education of a Coach

- So you're saying those 6-foot long CVS receipts gave me diabetes? Knew it!

Gridiron Genius and Bill Walsh's Standard of Performance

Currently reading Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi. So far a very enjoyable read.

Early on Lombardi shared Bill Walsh's Standard of Performance and I thought these 17 tenets were worthy of note.

1. Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement.

2. Demonstrate respect for each person in the organization.

3. Be deeply committed to learning and teaching.

4. Be fair.

5. Demonstrate Character.

6. Honor the direct connection between details and improvement; relentlessly seek the latter.

7. Show self -control, especially under pressure.

8. Demonstrate and prize loyalty.

9. Use positive language and have a positive attitude.

10. Take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the result of that effort.

11. Be willing to go the extra distance for the organization.

12. Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation.

13. Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive

14. Seek poise in myself and those that I lead

15. Put the team's welfare and priorities ahead of my own.

16. Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high

17. Make sacrifice and commitment the organization's trademark.

This Standard of Performance could easily be applied to any organization or even as a personal code of conduct.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

GMC should come out with a special edition Denali that would only be available in Ohio but called the McKinley (too obscure?)... Heh Heh... I still firmly believe that the NFL would have been much better off if all those years ago instead of hiring Roger Goodell they got a mannequin in a suit and piped in H. Jon Benjamin's voice whenever the Commissioner needed to "speak"...  Cloudzilla!... Not to belittle the damage or human suffering in any way but it seems that we have reached a point where we gauge the severity of a hurricane's damage by whether Waffle House closes and if the death toll is higher than the average gun deaths of a weekend in Chicago... Call me a cynic but I think one reason Dianne Feinstein pulled this stunt on Judge Kavanaugh was to hopefully get people to forget her driver for 20-years was a Chinese spy... For the record I'm 100% wait and see on the Pats acquiring Josh Gordon. When New England acquired Corey Dillion and Randy Moss I was on board right away. This feels different...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- This is a pretty interesting power ranking of the Top 25 College football teams.

- I'm excited to see Catch-22 brought to life as a 6 episode mini-series. Strange how there seems to be so little buzz about this project.

- Newly released Eric Holder memo: Feds can use FISA to spy on journalists. OK - next question: what journalists did the Obama Administration spy on if any?

- Tesla shares drop after its announced DOJ requested documents after Elon Musk's "taking company private" comments. Always something in Musk World.

- Interesting observation on Korea from Scott Adams

- This actually looks like a pretty cool idea (I'd probably never wear one though)

- Climate alarmism fails the scientific test of observation

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day mateys!

You really don't hear the phrase "shiver me timbers" anymore - not even on Talk Like a Pirate Day. The phrase probably gained its original popularity via the character Long John Silver in Treasure Island.  I understand the phrase "well blow me down" is still popular in certain circles - not that there's anything wrong with that.

Many people have heard of Talk Like a Pirate Day but did you know that April 23rd is Talk Like Shakespeare Day?