Friday, March 23, 2018

Facebook and Your Private Data

When the Obama campaign strip-mined Facebook it was OK. When Cambridge Analytica did it - it's a panic. There's a real double standard going on here and if you don't acknowledge that you really aren't being honest with yourself. It should also bother you that Silicon Valley is just making up rules about how to treat your private data as it goes along.

Remember, "if you're not paying for something, you're not the customer, you're the product being sold." Also remember that Mark Zuckerberg considers you "dumb f*cks" for trusting him with your data in the first place. And to be clear - I don't blame Zuckerberg. How did you think he became a billionaire? Offering services for free? Grow up and own that you are the product and that your data is the price you pay for Farmville (or whatever time wasters Facebooks offers since I'm not on Facebook I don't know).

Now ask yourself what real benefits you get from Facebook and are they worth the time-suck it takes away from your life then add in the loss of privacy. What more productive things could you be doing with all that time you waste on Facebook? What are the benefits you could gain from those activities?

Why are you still on Facebook?

I'm also seriously rethinking my feelings about what Julian Assange did.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Stephen Hawking's Voice

"London is burning and I live by the river" - Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking had one of the most unique and recognizable voices in the world. The thing is - it wasn't really unique. It was computer synthesized and thus fairly easy to replicate.  Can you imagine the potential?

You could have Stephen Hawking's voice do cover songs. It wouldn't work for some songs like the Beatle's Helter Skelter or the Butthole Surfers' Pepper but how cool would it be to hear some Sinatra covers or the smooth baby-making songs of Teddy Pendergrass done by Stephen Hawking's voice.

You could also have Stephen Hawking's voice cover classic comedy bits. Like George Carlin's A Place for My Stuff. Admit it - you'd check that out just out of curiosity.

Linky Links

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

- Niall Ferguson has an interesting point. The steel tariffs do make a lot of sense if they are part of an overall strategy to pressure China over North Korea.

- Still think John Skipper was forced out of ESPN because of corporate politics and direction more than because of cocaine use or potential extortion.

- If Stephen Hawking was just a famous genius guy in a wheelchair to you - this post let's you understand what Stephen Hawking was really famous for.

- Heh Heh (took me a minute)

- Cool science

- Holy Cross to dump knight mascot but keep Crusader name. The people running Holy Cross seem to be a bunch of spineless idiots.

- Who knew? The phrase "I'd drink her dirty bathwater" first originated with an Irish nun.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

My favorite thing about 16 seed UMBC's upset over number 1 seed Virginia is the fact that to most people Stringer Bell from The Wire is UMBC's most famous alumni... Heh heh... This is tangentially Irish but did you know the scientific term "quarks" (a type of subatomic particle) was taken from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake?... So beautiful (Keukenhof, Holland)... Danny Woodhead has announced his retirement from the NFL. He was one of the easiest people to root for in the past decade... Opening Day is fast approaching. We are that much closer to the dulcet tones of Carl Ripken Jr. calling baseball games... Was on a recent JetBlue flight where they had to shut down the entire plane prior to take-off to reboot the plane's computer system. Guy next to me commented "I guess CTRL ALT DEL didn't work"...

Top 5 - Saint Patrick's Day Irish Music

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Here are my Top 5 Songs for celebrating Saint Patrick's Day (because Oh Danny Boy is shite).

1. Rocky Road to Dublin

2. If I Should Fall From Grace with God - The Pogues

3. Four Green Fields - Makem & Clancy

4. The Foggy Dew - Sinead O'Connor and the Chieftains

5. I'm Shipping Up to Boston - Dropkick Murphy's

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March - famous because it is forever connected with the murder of Julius Caesar back in 44 BC. Less historically well known is the fact the Caesar was only murdered because Lucius Vorenus wasn't there to protect him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking has passed away. Despite the many physical issues he faced he never lost his sense of humor. That may be one of the most remarkable things about this remarkable man.

Albert Einstein

Today is Albert Einstein's birthday. Just a reminder that even though E=MC2 is perhaps the most famous scientific equation in history - Einstein never received the Nobel Prize for coming up with it. The reasons for this slight were mostly because Einstein was Jewish. The committee eventually gave Einstein the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his 1905 explanation of the photoelectric effect but that was really too little too late.

As smart as Einstein was it makes me chuckle to remember that when Einstein graduated from our equivalent of high school - he finished second in his class. The name of the person who was valedictorian is lost to history but I couldn't help but think of someone back then saying something like, "Yeah Einstein was pretty smart in high school but you should have seen this other guy!"

Also when Albert Einstein first visited the US in 1921 - the US Senate saw fit to debate the validity of the Theory of Relativity - seriously. The Theory of Relativity just turned 101 years old. In this video uber biographer Walter Isaacson explains the Theory of Relativity in under 3 minutes.

Random Albert Einstein trivia; when Einstein lived in Princeton he had a small 17-foot sailboat he named Tinef which is Yiddish for "piece of junk". I find that endearing.

Finally - 10 Myths about Albert Einstein debunked

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fake News and the Internet

"In America, the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." Oscar Wilde 1887
Interesting look at how "fake news" gets spread on Twitter - an analysis of 4.5 million Tweets shows that falsehoods are 70 percent more likely to be shared. The really interesting part for me was "when bot traffic was added back into the mix, the researchers found that these computer programs spread false and true news about equally." So it's not the bots - it's the people.

To me there's a simple explanation why fake news gets spread more than real news. If something is real then a person is more likely to read it because the topic is of interest to that person and maybe, just maybe share it if the person thinks his social group would also find the subject interesting. Fake news, o the other hand, probably gets spread more because of the "can you believe this?" or the "hey guess - CNN or The Onion?" aspect. Those Tweets count too. 

I like to think that this process is helping the younger generations to have their BS detectors honed at a younger age. Just after learning not to fall for the "I got your nose" gag kids will be learning to take any news story with a grain of salt. Hopefully it will make it much harder for the media or political parties to fool or mislead these generations than it was for older generations.

And hopefully those who learn to discern the truth for themselves will be the managers and leaders of the future. While those you never learn that "I got your nose" is a gag will learn to say "Do you want fries with that?"

Friday, March 09, 2018

In Hell I'll Be in Good Company - The Dead South

Heard this song for the first time last night. I like it!

(With over 48 million views of the video - I guess I'm a little late to the game. But better late than never!)

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Disney / ESPN Streaming Service

Disney plans to launch a streaming service to compete with Netflix sometime in 2019. Not much is known about what Disney plans to do.

Here's what I predict or suggest what Disney should offer.

First it will be a combined linear (live channel) and on-demand offering. This leverages Disney's existing portfolio of products. This means ESPN will have to play a large role. Second it will be kid and family friendly which means no content higher than PG-13. It is this second point that helps explain some of the recent changes at ESPN (but I'll get to that later).

The first part of the package would be the following 10 channels offered for just under $10 per month:

ABC Family
ABC News Now
Disney Channel
Disney Jr.
Disney XD
ESPN Classic

That should be appealing to many families and at about $1 per channel it fits most budgets especially for families who have cut the cord. And more importantly it helps stem the revenue bleeding from families cutting the cord which has been a major factor in why ESPN has been a recent drag on Disney stock.

But first ESPN has to be made "non-offensive" to middle America. "Mommy you voted for Donald Trump - does that mean you and daddy are racists?" "Daddy can you help me write a paper on my hero Colin Kaepernick?" Any non-on-the-field content that may embarrass parents or cause blood pressure to rise has to be eliminated or avoided. The first step was to get rid of John Skipper who resigned December 18, 2017 supposedly because he has a "substance addiction".

What if that "substance" addiction wasn't drugs or alcohol but instead "substantial" topics and people who hold "substantial" opinions? People like Jemele Hill or Keith Olbermann. I mean most friends and colleagues were shocked at the idea Skipper had a substance addiction in the common understanding of the term. But I bet most would agree that Skipper's loyalty to the "talent" was a habit he'd find hard to break.

Author James Miller seems to agree with this idea. Miller wrote that Disney CEO Bob Iger offered to have Jimmy Pitaro come over to "help" Skipper but was declined on the grounds that Skipper "thought the move would disrupt ESPN culture." Maybe that was the whole point? Now Jimmy Pitaro has been named President of ESPN and co-chair of Disney Media Networks. The pieces just fall into place.

The second part of the package would be the on-demand content of which Disney has a library that's hard to beat. You'd of course have all the classic Disney movies and TV content for the kids. Then you'd have all the Star Wars properties and Marvel superhero movies (except Deadpool because of the R-rating - let HBO or Netflix pay for the rights to those movies). On top of that you'd have the ESPN Classic library of documentaries and classic games plus all the recent and expanding 30 for 30 documentaries.

You could market the on-demand package separately for $5 per month or you could get the linear  channels and the on-demand for $12 per month. That's an attractive package. It not only competes against Netflix but in many cases complements Netflix. Most people who cut the cord have multiple video offering. It's not an either or situation

If you keep cable then you are already paying Disney top dollar. If you cut the  cord and you either have a family or like sports the $12 per month is not much to spend especially if you've just dropped a $120 cable package.

Anyway - this is one man's read of the situation.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Linky Links

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

- Founder of Tower Records dies at age 92 while drinking whiskey and watching the Oscars

- Nor'easter uncovers skeleton of sunken Revolutionary War-era ship on Maine beach

- Wreck of the USS Lexington located in the Coral Sea by expedition led by Paul Allen. Nice work sir!

- Navalism - Quotes & Perceptions by Naval Ravikant. This is something I will try to revisit periodically because there is a lot of wisdom captured here.

- This kind of is the essence of Hollywood and the Oscars

- Kevin Love opens up about mental health. Good for Kevin Love!

- Posted without comment. (To myself "If you create a system that can be gamed - people will game it." Glad I kept that to myself)

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

As a Boston fan I'm getting restless. It has been months since our last championship... Funny because it's true... Just a reminder - we know exactly who President Obama picked each year in his NCAA March Madness pools but we still don't know where he was the night our Embassy in Benghazi was attacked... Very cool... Georgetown's colors of blue and gray were chosen back in 1876 to support "unity between the Northern and Southern boys of the college"... Marcus Smart Ninja. How many middle age white guys will throw out their backs today trying to pull off this move?... If the day after Christmas can be known as Boxing Day why can't the day after St. Patrick's Day be known as Hangover Day?...

The Periodic Table

Today marks the 149th "birthday" of Dmitri Mendeleev's periodic table. I would put this "discovery" on par with Newton's "discovery" of gravity or Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Drug wars are good and easy to win... South Korea has a robot crab called the "crabster" that can be used to explore the ocean floor... Am I the only one suffering serious football withdrawal right now?... Along with being a pretty unique person Shaq is a pretty astute businessman... Not sure what bothered me more as a kid - learning there's no Easter Bunny or learning Erik Estrada's first name is actually Henry... Can you imagine how awful it would to be for a girl or guy in college or high school with a nickname like "the crabster"?... Pretty strong words from Alan Dershowitz about the hard left and tenured university professors...

Friday, March 02, 2018

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Sir Bors

In Arthurian Legend Sir Bors (aka Bohort), Sir Galahad, and Percival go on to achieve the Holy Grail and accompany it to a mystical island in the Middle East called Sarras. Both Galahad and Percival die on the island while Bors is the only one to return. Thus Sir Bors is the lone survivor of the Grail Quest.

In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Sir Bors is played by Terry Gilliam and is the first knight to fall victim to the killer rabbit.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Starlings, Unintended Consequences, Gun Control, and 3D Printers

"Any endeavor has unintended consequences. Any ill-conceived endeavor has more." Stephen Tobolowsky
This post on unintended consequences on the Farnam Street blog starts off with the story of how 100 starlings were introduced to Central Park in New York in 1890 by a Shakespeare fan. Today there is somewhere between 45 and 200 million starlings in the US.

Right now there seems to be a rush for some sort of Gun Control legislation with the banning of "Bump Stocks" * at the top of the list. But if Bump Stocks can easily be made via 3D printers couldn't that later easily lead to the outlawing of 3D printers (If you outlaw 3D printers then only outlaws will have 3D printers)? To many this leap will seem plain stupid but I fear to many elected officials this will seem like just a logical next step (my confidence in elected officials is at an all-time low). Look no further than the history of the outlawing of the growing of hemp in the US if you doubt this outcome is possible.

I admit my brain works differently from most people and maybe the connection between unintended consequences, gun control, and 3D printers is just silly. Or who knows - maybe in decades to come it will lead to violent sprees by Mexican 3D Printer cartels. Hey Eugene Schifefelin never imagined the cute little birdies he released in the park causing millions of dollars in crop damage each year.

* I don't own a gun, am not a member of the NRA and I really don't know anything about guns including what a frigging bump stock is (and I am not proud of this ignorance)

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Dolly Parton is a great American. She has promoted reading by giving away 1 million books. ONE MILLION BOOKS A FREAKING MONTH! Wrap your brain around that... "Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." - Richard Feynman. A quote to keep in mind every time you read a newspaper or an article online... Japanese WFT? Seriously WTF!... I think the word "disseminate" should refer to when a man masturbates to climax... Who knew? Ulysses S. Grant is the only person on regularly used US currency who actually graduated from college... Spherical Bastards would be a good name for a band (bastards no matter what angle you looked at them)... Dolly Parton truly is an American treasure...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Linky Links

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

- I love stories like this.

- Heh heh

- Seriously? Part of me is convinced this has to be an early April's Fools prank.

- 20 habits to live your best life today

- Wait - Groot is dead? If that's true then why have Vin Diesel play both Groot and Baby Groot?

- Heh heh

- Ed Latimore tries the Wim Hof method. I have to stop writing about wanting to try this and just do it! (Thanks for the link Doug)

Happy Birthday Ralphie

Today is Ralph Nader's 84th birthday and I for one would like to wish him a happy birthday and thank him once again for taking those votes away from Al Gore in the 2000 election. Nader got 3% of the vote nation-wide and who knows how many votes in the closely contested (to put it mildly) Florida vote.

Thanks Ralphie. Don't hold your breath for a birthday card from Al Gore though.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Linky Links

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

- Interesting read

- Venezuela being evicted from its consulate in Miami. They haven't paid the rent since August. Venezuela is a failed state.

- 10 principles to live an "antifragile" life

- Wow - would DISH walk away from satellite TV?

- Yeah probably going to hell for laughing at this too.


- Slap Shot was released 41-years ago (yesterday)

Hurt - Johnny Cash

Today would have been Johnny Cash's 86th birthday. The world is a lesser place with him gone.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Challenges of DNA Data

Interesting article about the challenges of a future where many people's DNA sequencing is available in database form. As more testing like 23andMe become prevalent - more people will have greater control over their genetic history as an aid to better health. Criminals will also have potentially more data on which to do identity theft and other dastardly deeds. There will be many challenges coming in the near future regarding DNA data and keeping that data safe.

I can't help but think what DNA sequencing data could do for targeted marketing. For instance in the future I picture the equivalent of my 25-year old self one day wondering, "Why am I suddenly getting all of these ads about diabetes, premature gray hair and penis reduction surgery?"

On a bit of a tangent but still related thought - I wonder what DNA sequencing and things like CRISPR will do for animal breeding? Why pay $500,000 for a stud fee for Storm Cat when a groomer can just grab a few hairs which will yield all the DNA data needed?  Can you imagine the future menagerie of custom DNA built dogs?

We are truly sailing into uncharted waters.

Linky Links

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

- Cancer "vaccine" ready for human trials;
Of the 90 mice affected by lymphoma, 87 were cancer-free after the first treatment, and the last three were rid of cancer with a second injection.
- 1816 the year without a Summer

- I can tell you first hand - the lessons of Total Immersion really work! If you swim laps for exercise or relaxation this is a must read!

- Heh heh

- Tolstoy's 10 Rules for Life

- Google's Project Loon utilizes balloons to bring the Internet to remote areas. Meanwhile Elon Musk plans low Earth orbit satellites for broadband. This sort of reminds me of the story of NASA trying to develop a pen that would work in zero gravity while the Russians just went with pencils.

- The Celtics thinking behind the drafting of Brown and Tatum.

When We Was Fab – George Harrison

Today would have been George Harrison's 75th birthday. He was my favorite Beatle.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Justin Trudeau

"Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." - Steve Jobs
Trudeau's India trip is a total disaster - and he has only himself to blame. - Washington Post

Justin Trudeau's India visit deemed a "slow moving train wreck" - CNBC

Somebody Needs to Remind Him He's Prime Minister - Daily Mail

America is going to be better off after Trump. Canada after Trudeau? Not so much.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I've said it before but for me Dustin Pedroia is like a cross between Ryne Sandberg and Begbie from Trainspotting... "Never start a sentence you don't know how to finish." - Paul Dirac... The argument against Amazon - it's the Standard Oil of the 21st Century... The country of Greenland has just 56,000 people. The City of Worcester, Mass has a population of 184,500. It is harder to get elected Mayor of Worcester than Prime Minister of Greenland... Can running help fight the negative aspects of stress on the brain?... Regarding the idea of arming teachers - after 9/11 many people were in favor of allowing pilots to carry arms in the cockpit. Nothing ever became of that... Rio de Janeiro means "River of January". I wonder if somewhere there's a Rio de Febrero?...

EDIT: Pilots are allowed to carry in the cockpit. Mea culpa.

Linky Links

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

- Interesting - possible new Alzheimer's treatment using stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells may be the "miracle cure" of the 21st century.

- Dilbert's Unified Theory of Everything Financial (good to review this ever once and a while for your financial well-being)

- The cold hard facts about freezing to death (hopefully another New England winter has passed without me getting hypothermia)

- Good point

- What ever happened to Brendan Fraser? Brendan Fraser is a very likable human being.

- The Supreme Court has a chance to correct a 40-year old mistake regarding public unions

- This image of Bird just makes me laugh

Friday, February 23, 2018

Watergate and FISA-gate

Victor Davis Hanson does a fine job explaining why FISA-gate is basically Watergate turned upside down.

It is amusing to me that one of the lasting achievements of the Obama Administration may end up being to make Nixon look better in the eyes of history.

Thanks Obama?

Link Links

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

- Wow - mesmerizing! Math for the win!

- Tom Crean on the lessons he's learned during a year away from coaching.

- Good advice (not just for 20-somethings)

- "Of course.Mark knew. Everyone knew." This is not good for Mark Cuban. Goodbye all thoughts of running for President in 2020.

- Heh heh (I miss Hazel Mae working for NESN)

- Just a spring training reminder!

- The "unknown unknowns" about DIY CRISPR sets are scary to me. So much could go horribly wrong.

Iwo Jima

Today is the anniversary of the iconic photo by Joe Rosenthal of raising of the American flag on Mount Suribashi on Iwo Jima. The fighting on the island actually started four days earlier on February 19th. The story of this battle is something every high school student should have to learn before they are allowed to graduate.

Semper Fidelis.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Do You Believe in Miracles

38-years ago today.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Congratulations to the USA Women's Hockey Team on their Gold Medal victory last night over Canada. I could watch the game-winning shootout goal over and over (in fact I have)... I think the crisis of faith in the Catholic Church stems from the fact such a big deal is made over First Communion, But second communion not so much. That's when things start to go off the rails... You might think you've had a cool conversation with a friend but you'll never be as cool as Major John Glenn and Captain Ted Williams discussing flying tactics in Korea cool... If you raped Peter Pan could you be charged with statutory rape? Or could you be charged with elder abuse? How old is Peter Pan? Asking for a friend... Heh heh - no lollipop for you Ray Bourque (I bet Ray is a fantastic grandpa)... Red Sox are paying Pablo Sandoval $18 million not to play in Boston this year. The Yankees are paying Jacoby Ellsbury $21 million each year for the next three years to be a pinch runner. Advantage Boston...  So cool - after last night's game someone changed Maddie Rooney's position from Goalie to US Secretary of Defense...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Linky Links

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

- Illustrated Periodic Table shows how we regularly interact with each element. I still say the Periodic Table is one of science's great achievements.

- Saddened to hear this news about Tiny Archibald.

- If true this is really disappointing on the part of NOAA. Eroding trust in science and government at the same time.

- Who knew?

- Interesting look at how 40-years ago Israel basically changed from being a socialist nation to a capitalist one and how that change has made all the difference.

- One of the most persuasive arguments I ever read FOR taking PED's. Sadly the author Andrew Tilin recently died when he was hit by a car while biking.

- National Geographic's Photo of the Year.

102nd Anniversary of the Battle of Verdun

Today marks the the 102nd anniversary of one of the events that changed the world forever. On February 21st in 1916 - the Battle of Verdun began. The battle was to change the course of Western Civilization. 

The idea for the battle was from German Chief of Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn. He believed that if he could take-out France with a major set battle and discourage England to a point that Germany could be in a position to negotiate very favorable terms. To accomplish his goals - Falkenhayn proposed unrestricted submarine warfare to starve Britain and a knockout blow against France at Verdun. With this major battle at Verdun, Falkenhayn hoped to "bleed France white".

It was an ambitious plan - an aggressive plan. Falkenhayn knew that to attack at Verdun he'd have to take resources away from the Eastern Front and that unrestricted submarine warfare ran the risk of bringing the U.S. into the war. Falkenhayn reasoned that Russia was on the brink of revolution and internal civil war in Russia would allow them to take those resources from the Eastern Front and that the decisive blow to France would come before the US was dragged into the war. He was right on the former but wrong on the latter.

Verdun seemed the perfect place to attack. It actually jutted out into the German lines - so it could be attacked from three sides. It was also of historical and psychological significance to Frenchmen (somewhat akin to what the Alamo is to Americans).

The job of attacking Verdun fell to German Crown Prince Wilhelm. He planned to assault the town from both side of the surrounding Meuse River but that plan vetoed by Falkenhayn. After coming up with a daring, aggressive plan - Falkenhayn was suddenly cautious. Falkenhayn ordered the attack to be confined to one side of the river. Similar to a poker game, Falkenhayn was beaten on the river. Falkenhayn had pocket Aces of a plan but he failed to put enough chips at risk to drive the other player out. By not being aggressive when he should have he gave France free cards and allowed himself and Germany to literally be beaten on the river.

With so many people who eventually died in the battle, a poker analogy may seem flip but the fact is the Germans had one million troops against 200,000 defenders. They did hold Aces before the battle.

When the attack finally began, the Germans bombarded Verdun with 1,400 guns that rained Verdun with 100,000 shells every hour. The Germans failed to immediately follow up the bombardment with an full-scale infantry attack and what resulted was a stalemate which was to last for months and months.

The dead and wounded from both sides piled up so that both countries were being "bled white". The French begged Britain to open up a diversionary attack elsewhere on the Western Front to drain resources and men away from Verdun on the German side. Thus the Battle of the Somme was born. 

By the time the battle of Verdun ended almost one million casualties had been inflicted in roughly equal numbers for both sides. The Battle of the Somme resulted in about 1.1 million casualties (about 400,000 British, 200,000 French and 500,000 German). The unrestricted submarine warfare resulted in the Americans being dragged into the War (remember that President Woodrow Wilson was elected on a peace platform). The American joined the fight just as both sides were literally exhausted from being "bled white" from Verdun and the Somme and the rest is history (including the harsh terms imposed on Germany that led to the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Case of the Poison Apple

While reading the book The Strangest Man (The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom) I came across this surprising paragraph;
In the early autumn of 1925, he [Patrick Blackett] tutored Oppenheimer at the laboratory bench, teaching him the craft of experimental physics, for which Oppenheimer had little aptitude, as he well knew. With the peculiar logic of neurosis, Oppenheimer decided to get his own back by anonymously leaving on Blackett's desk an apple poisoned with chemicals from the laboratory. Blackett survived but the authorities were outraged and Oppenheimer avoided expulsion from the university only after his parents  persuaded the university not to press charges but to put him on probation, on the understanding that he would have regular sessions with a psychiatrist. 
Oppenheimer is famous in history for saying "I have become death, destroyer of worlds" after the explosion of the atomic bomb. Who knew that in graduate school at Cambridge he also almost became the evil queen poisoner of apples?

Can you imagine how the history of the 20th century could have been much different if in 1925 J. Robert Oppenheimer was put in jail for attempted murder?

Linky Links

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

- I've always fantasized about living in a treehouse (or a sailboat)

- The dirty truth about hand dryers. I hate hand dryers. Bring back paper towels!

- Not all Olympic heroes wear capes

- Bad news for network TV and newspapers - Google and Facebook are dominating the ad business

- Heh heh - Black Panther spoiler

- When the Russians first spoke about American "useful idiots" it is people like Michael Moore they had in mind.

- Austin Carr is a good person

Religious Affiliations of the Super Heroes

I found this very interesting.

Who knew that Batman was a lapsed Catholic who is now an Episcopalian? It was easy to guess that Catholic Girl was Catholic (how come there's no Catholic Avenger? That would be a cool name for the Pope's alter ego and while I'm rambling - who ever heard of Catholic Girl?). But did you know that Ben Grimm (the Thing from the Fantastic Four) is Jewish? Magneto (the X-Men super villian) is also Jewish.

The funniest one I thought was J. Jonah Jameson who is the employer of Peter Parker. His religious affiliation is listed as "hates Spider-man". I just found that amusing.

Here are some of the major super heros / villians and their religious affiliations:

Superman - Methodist 
Spider-Man - Protestant 
Batman - Episcopalian/Catholic (lapsed)
Lex Luthor - Nietzschian atheist (I would have guessed Lutheran)
The Joker - atheist

Monday, February 19, 2018

Bon Scott

On this day back in 1980 Bon Scott died - some say he choked on his own vomit but his death certificate says "death by misadventure" (wouldn't that be a great name for a band?). Anyway - here are what I consider the top 5 AC/DC songs with Bon Scott as frontman.

1. It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)
2. Whole Lotta Rosie
3. Highway to Hell
4. Jailbreak
5. (tie) TNT (tie) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll) may be the most perfect hard rock song ever recorded. There is no way to improve on that song. Not many people know this but Bon Scott wasn't even the original lead singer for AC/DC. It was a guy named Dave Evans who Scott replaced after about a year

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Linky Links

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

- Interesting interview with Dr. Spencer Wells - the man who basically created the commercial market for ancestral DNA testing.

- Not sure if Boston has the requisite number of strip clubs

- Further argument for the legalization of drugs

- What SpaceX means for space exploration. We are looking at a giant step forward.

- Basic mountain bike maintenance

- 12 people you might not have known were Olympians

- Heh heh

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Used to be a big fan of NBA All-Star weekend. Now I probably won't see one second of the 3-point contest, dunk contest or actual game... I love the idea of Pedro Martinez being more involved and hands-on with the pitchers at Spring Training for the Red Sox... Subterranean Beavers would be a good name for a band... This week I was having lunch at a Japanese restaurant when I notice the movie Pearl Harbor was playing on the TV's in the background. I was amused by that (but also slightly uncomfortable)... It has to be said that the world has really gone to hell since the passing of Abe Vigoda. Was he some sort of sentinel guarding the gates of chaos or something?... I really want one of these trucks... A blonde is a blonde. A brunette is a brunette. A redhead is a redhead. So what do you call a woman with black hair? She's not a "black" and definitely not a "Blackhead". And don't come at me with "raven" because that's a bird or a pro football player from Baltimore... 

Shattered - Eddie Vedder & Jeanne Tripplehorn

This video always makes me smile.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Heroes Who Walk the Earth

Abdullah Shrim has helped free hundreds held by ISIS. You can't help but be full of admiration for this man. A man who risks his life doing what he think is right and what his conscience tells him he MUST do.
"But I think my life is worth nothing compared to a tear from the eye of a 12-year-old girl who has been raped." - Abdullah Shrim
ISIS must and will be destroyed. Our nation also must re-evaluate our relationship with Turkey who either is turning a blind eye to this human slavery or is assisting it.

The United States should be helping people like Abdullah Shrim. And our help MUST be much more tangible than pathetically frowning and holding signs.

Linky Links

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

- Skydio R1 - cool technology but I couldn't help but think police might benefit most from the product.

- This is cool! Couldn't help but wonder where the V1 bomb ended up landing though?

- Rob Gronkowski is a good person

- This is true

- Remind me again on why we are in the UN?

- Marc-Andre Fleury is a good person too. Here's the video.

- Who knew? We have a major shrimp trade deficit in the US. Shrimp made up more than 1% of the total US 2017 trade deficit.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Charlie Munger

“Knowing what you don’t know is more useful than being brilliant.”“Acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom.” “People are trying to be smart—all I am trying to do is not to be idiotic, but it’s harder than most people think.”

It is good practice to review the words and lessons of the great Charlie Munger every once and a while.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

For the record I have no problem with Josh McDaniels walking away from the Colts Head Coach job at the last minute. You know there was doubts about leaving a great organization for one run by a buffoon. McDaniels now gets to stay and continue to work with the best QB and best coach of all-time and I'm sure Robert Kraft gave him a very nice bump in pay. No problem at all... Heh heh... Breast Milk Cheese would be a good name for an all female punk Barry Manilow cover band... Heh heh... "I went to my doctor and told him 'My penis was burning' he said 'That means someone is talking about it'" - Garry Shandling (one of my favorite quotes)...  One of the greatest scenes in TV history... OK - I'll be honest - I've watched this several times and I still don't know how to fold a fitted sheet. I'm not just the domestic sort I guess...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Taxing the Internet

There's a bill currently in Georgia that would basically tax the Internet.
[Rep. Jay] Powell's measure would replace that lost revenue with a broader tax base, imposing a sales tax on music downloads, streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, and other digital purchases.
Powell is co-Chair of the Rural Development Council and heads the House Ways and Means Committee so you would have to guess there's a good chance this bill becomes law in Georgia.

The revenue from the bill would supposedly go to fund broadband expansion for those areas of the State that are currently "unserved" by high speed broadband. That's a commendable goal but is this the right way to go ahead and fund something like that? I can see other states following suit just to get the funds without the commendable goals.

The TEA in TEA Party stood for "Taxed Enough Already" and I can foresee a measure like the Georgia Bill spreading to other states also potentially giving rise to a rebirth of the Tea Party. Maybe Apple and Google can use their considerable hoarded wealth to lobby to help stop this from happening.

Linky Links

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

- Wim Hof Method 10-week video course. Actually thinking of doing this.

- I agree with this theory

- Interesting - the topography of Mars

- Heh - the song known as "Kumbayuh" is actually "Come By Here" but people couldn't understand the Gullah dialect in which it was sung

- David Bowie foresaw the impact of the Internet on content distribution as far back as 1999.

- Part of me is happy I won't live long enough to see the robots take over the world

- Heh heh - awesome!

Happy 95th Birthday to Chuck Yeager

Today is General Yeager's 95th birthday. Happy birthday General!

I'm guessing if you asked him - he would probably be more proud of this accomplishment than of breaking the sound barrier.

Speaking of breaking the sound barrier.

And here's another example why Chuck Yeager is the man!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Linky Links

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

- This is a REAL scandal. Why isn't the ACLU involved yet? Why isn't the MSM covering this? Maybe it's time to get rid of the FISA Court all together.

- Wow - never noticed this before but just move the part in the hair to the other side. Maybe Mitt Romney is secretly the Highlander?

- This is taking Olympic sponsorship to a whole other level.

- I agree - this is the coolest photo I'll see this week

- Heh heh

- Once a Marine always a Marine. Very touching.

- The Ecstasy of Saint Lindsay?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Forever the Truth - Forever a Celtic

Paul Pierce

Tonight Paul Pierce will have his number retired during the Boston Celtics game vs the Cleveland Cavaliers. On sports talk radio in Boston they are debating his place in the Celtics all-time pantheon. Is he in the top 5 of all-time Celtics? Well he's obviously behind Bill Russell and Larry Bird. Behind John Havlicek too. What about Cousy, McHale and don't forget former MVP Dave Cowens? Talk about a wealth of riches.

What struck me was the thought of what if Paul Pierce wasn't a Celtic? He probably would be THE greatest player in franchise history for the following teams; Toronto, Brooklyn/New Jersey (I'm going to say that he's better than Buck Williams), Milwaukee, Charlotte, Los Angeles Clippers (Blake Griffin was traded before having a chance to pass Pierce), Memphis and the New Orleans Hornets (the New Orleans Jazz had Pistol Pete).

Think of that - 7 franchises for whom Paul Pierce would be their greatest player of all-time. Paul Pierce is one of those players who most likely won't get his historical due.