Factoid o’ the Day

During its debut 2000 season, the island location used for TV’s Survivor was a staging post for modern-day pirates. These pirates, with high-tech speedboats, used the remote island for international black marketeering. In retaliation for the invasion of their privacy by the Hollywood crew, several bad guys one day chased the show’s creator, Mark Burnett, in their speedboat. Burnett later said he feared he would be killed. No such luck.

Christmas Cheer!

Decorating the tree today …  Here’s a little musical accompaniment to help get the deed done.  These were free and from Target, hence the lame vids.  Coulda shoulda just had a little play bar, but …

update:  I really hate some of these songs.

On a positive note, the tree is pretty, to wit:



Natlie Hemby

Little Jackie

Ceci Bastida

First, they auto-tuned Cher, then Charlie Bit Me, then …

It was The News!

And the bad news is that instead of going shopping, I have whiled away the day doing things like watching Auto-Tune The News.  This is my favorite waste of time so far this week.  Maybe this month.  I find the brothers who do this rather compelling.  And funny.  And, don’t tell anyone, but I kind of like the music.

And now, I’m going to drink.  Daisyfae mentioned something about Baileys.  I believe I’ll go there right now.

Cover art

Interesting, compelling cover photo on the latest Communications of the ACM magazine. Click it and look at it full size.

Also:  Happy Thanksgiving!  I am up WAY too late, doing food prep.  The oven in this new house is very small, I hope the turkey fits.  I know nothing else besides the turkey will.

And appropos of nothing in particular, here’s a picture of all the dogs (and Bob) trying out the new dog bed.  It was a hit. 🙂

In which I bitch about getting old among other things

So, I woke up yesterday morning with a zit the size of Manhattan on my chin. I’m in my early 50s. I am losing my eyesight and vision and bladder control. I do NOT think I should still be getting zits the size of Manhattan. It just doesn’t seem fair.

Losing your faculties when you’re old is a strange and possibly poignant process. I remember a point when I could tell exactly which direction from which sounds originated.  Not anymore.  It was awful when I noticed it.  One day, pinpoint sound accuracy.  Next day, WTF made that noise?  It really seems like that’s the way it happened, here today, gone tomorrow.  I’m getting used to it, but I still remember when it was very different.

Or my vision changes.  I will be squinting at something, and remember to go find some glasses.  Whoa!  Oh, yes, remember? That’s how clear everything used to be.  That fading process has definitely been more gradual.  It took me some months to realize it *wasn’t* that the planet had developed less light and smaller fonts, but that my vision was riding off into the sunset.

Are you in your 40s?  CHERISH THEM.

Waiting on the proof-of-concept …

Social Networking Extends Mobile Battery Life
AlphaGalileo (11/17/10)

Researchers at the University of Zagreb, Crotia, are developing a new approach to social networking for mobile devices that is based on the context and preferences of users. The approach would provide a richer and faster experience for users, boost mobile battery life by up to 70 percent, and reduce the bandwidth burden of telecommunications providers.

The researchers have developed middleware to sit between telecommunications providers and users. The system works through serendipitous cooperation, via more energy-efficient Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, between users close to each other in an urban environment. The MAgNet middleware enables telecommunication companies to create an overlay network, or social network, on top of the network of users physically situated in a mobile network environment and using mobile devices.

“The system identifies mobile users near each other who are interested in the same multimedia content,” says Zagreb Podobnik. “Each mobile user would download only a part of the requested content from the mobile network and then share it with other users in their locale via an ad hoc Bluetooth or Wi-Fi network.” The researchers say that three proof-of-concept services prove that software agents would provide an adequate solution for implementing the middleware.

Margaret Atwood

I’m going to use some of these on my sidebar.  Particularly the evil/stupid quote and the anomaly quote.

Did you ever read any Margaret Atwood?  She wrote one of the books that I still worry about on a regular basis.


Never pray for justice, because you might get some.

We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.

Cleverness is a quality a man likes to have in his wife as long as she is some distance away from him. Up close, he’ll take kindness any day of the week, if there’s nothing more alluring to be had.

I read for pleasure and that is the moment I learn the most.

If I love you, is that a fact or a weapon?

Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.

The truth is seldom welcome, especially at dinner.
All from Margaret Atwood

Theory and practice

Talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.
– Carl von Clausewitz, 1780 – 1831

One of the most difficult features of direct experience is that it is unfiltered by any theories or expectations. It’s hard to observe without imposing a theory to explain what we’re seeing, but the trouble with theories, as Einstein said, is that they explain not only what is observed, but what can be observed. We start to build expectations based on our theories.
– Michael Crichton, 1942 – 2008

Modern psychology teaches that experience is not merely the best teacher, but the only possible teacher.. There is no war between theory and practice. The most valuable experience demands both, and the theory should supplement the practice and not precede it.
– Charles F. Kettering, 1876 – 1958

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is.
– Jan L. A. van de Snepscheut, 1953 – 1994

We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.
– Niels Bohr, 1885 – 1962