Friday, March 30, 2012

The bridge energy future for america

NASA- Perpetual Ocean

This is American tax dollars at work.  A great visualization of all the world's oceans.  I am really surprised at all the vortexes (whirlpools).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Financial "Crisis" in Greece

I found this video hilarious! Since as I already said I think we are about to go over the cliff, at least this video gets some laughs.

PIIGS Debt Infographic

Here is a new blog I found that I have been catching up on:

Which posted a link to the infographic below:

This is pretty disturbing.  How did we allow this to happen?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The End of the Road Documentary

Let me be clear: I think we are in deep trouble.  I have written about this before. Insert link.  What can one person do?  Will things get that bad?

I really don't know what to do since these really big problems are more than any one person can really understand. 

But this is simple, one of the top portions of our governments budget here in these Untied States is INTEREST on what we already owe. And if we continue to borrow this will get bigger and bigger.  As Einstein said "compound interest is one of the most powerful forces in the Universe". I do not buy this theory that this excessive spending will spur growth from which the increase in revenue the government will be able to pay off the debt and interest.

Namely, there was an opportunity in the late 90s- the economic growth spurred among other thing but mostly from the Internet the government actually had surpluses.  They response was only to spend more!  As I believe Milton Friedman said (and please forgive if it is not exact) "It is idiotic to judge a policy only by its intent and not include its result".  Since our current system only promotes spending (why save when inflation reduces money's value) the system must change.  It is not going to be without pains, the only question is how much control we give up.

I really could my rant here, but I want to give a personal example.  My parents taught me to save first and pay in full.  It has served me well.  Actually I have never leveraged my credit, probably to a fault.  However, this idea of "cash is king" is B$.  I purchased a new used car a few years ago and given my habit I could buy it in cash.  I tried to leverage the all cash for a price negotiation and not a single place cared.  In fact one dealer said "actually I prefer you go for a 0% loan, since I get a kick back from the bank, even if you pay it in full the first month".  This is a symptom of a broken system.  And I hope I am wrong, but things are only going to get worse.  We must change.

Picture of the Day: Bacon Gun

This was on Facebook.
I don't really have much to say other than:

One part of me thinks how insensitive and barbaric this is. 

The other part yells lighten up and "mmmm... Bacon Gun."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Simple tests to tell if someone is having a stroke

My father died of a stroke.  It happened over ten years ago in mid April, 2001 and I had returned from a trip to Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) so I was actually home and If I had known the information below I may have saved his life.  I will never know.  Here is hoping you do if you are ever placed in the same situation. (Maybe I'll write more about the actual events another time.)

Taken from

I also checked and  According to both the information is good.


F- FACE- check for numbness or weakness in the face by asking the person to smile.  If one side of the face droops or the person can't smile, it may mean stroke. The numberness or weakness is usually limied to one side of the face.

A-ARMS- look for muscle weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms with their eyes closed. If one arm drifts down or can't be raised, it may mean stroke. The person may also have trouble walking or keeping balance.

S- SPEECH- Ask the person to repeat a simple or phrase. If the speech is slurred or they have trouble remembering it may mean stroke.

T- TIME- Get Help immediately if any of the above test show signs of a stroke.  Call 911 or get the person to a hospital.  Tell emergency medical personnel you're dealing with a possible stroke, so they can start proper treatment right away.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Survival of the fittest

I was looking for another TED talk when I stumble upon this one- sorry couldn't find the talk as a single video- this is one talk in two parts.

I like this concept of "Survival of the Fittest" no as the tyipcal zero sum game (x winners equal y losers) but fit as in how well we all fit together.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Niel DeGrasse Tyson

Needless to say, I am a big fan.  And I agree to his clarion call to double NASA's budget, if given the proper mission (like say Solar Power Satellites).  Since he is in the news for his new book I'll share my favorite opinion he expressed on some talk show I saw.  Since I don't remember the show (might have been the "the Daily Show with Jon Steward") or the exact quote I'll summarize my best and please forgive (and comment) if I miss something.

Basically he starts with most of our political leaders are educated as lawyers and there are very few doctors, engineers, or scientists in political office.  He remembers from school that the people who became lawyers were the people who liked to argue and win- not necessarily be right- just win.  Is it any wonder that our leadership (or country) is in the shape it is in when the leaders are only concerned with winning an augment and not the merit of the agrument itself or even the fact the situtation more likely doesn't have a "right" versus "wrong" answer.

We cannot continue with this right versus wrong mentality.  We are ignoring too many problems.  I have a real problem when most of our leadership seems proud they don't understand the nuiances of a problem and will only respond with catch phases.

Neil, I feel close enough to him to refer to him first name only in this blog, was on Science Friday Audio Podcast last week.  I'll listen to it later on my phone, but in case you're interested this was the best link I could find:

look along the right side under recent episodes.

Why Videos go viral- great insight from youtube

Given the all the discussion about the KONY 2012 viral video this TED talk seems very appropriate.

48 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute!

As described in the video above, it takes three things to make a video go viral:

taste makers, community, unexpectedness.

But these viral video can serve a more useful purpose than just entertainment.  It is and will be a great way to spread new ideas.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nothing more powerful than an idea: KONY 2012

Another idea showing the power of our connectivity.  We can all do our part to end this plight of invisible children.

Please watch, comment, share, and encourage others to as well.

Improv Everywhere: Ninja Ambush

I discovered this on Xbox this morning getting ready for work and it really made me laugh.  I am now also ready if I see one of these jokers somewhere.

P.s. I don't think these are real ninjas, but that is a great ambush tactic.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Japan February 2012 Trip: Final Thoughts

Well it is over a month since I left for Kobe Japan and I still have a few pictures , experiences, and thoughts to share.

In Kobe, everyone is in shape. I saw maybe two people the entire week that had maybe a few extra pounds, other than when I looked in the mirror.  It might have a little to do with how expensive everything is, especially food. People also trend to run, in short bursts, everywhere.  Actually at one point I did sprint across the street giggling madly, but no one reacted.   

Below is a picture of a huge fish I did recognize the first few days because I only passed by at night and only I could miss a 100 foot statue repeatedly.

The only shot glasses I found were for NY!

Above is the famous Kobe beef.  From what I could gather it is high price is based more on rarity of Japanese beef (there is not a lot of space to raise cattle).  Also, my friend Mike had a less than pleasant experience with it.  So for this trip I settle for taking the picture above.

Again, I am pretty sure I mentioned how almost no one spoke English, so one night we search out "The Hobgoblin", a British bar.  The beer was enjoyable, but the real just relief was speaking English to someone.  There was one guy literally asleep sitting up at the bar that I have pictures of, but I don't see any reason to post incriminating photos of anyone- especially without their permission.

Below is a strange picture on a small vending machine, it made me laugh so why not share it:

And the Kobe Tower (I think):
At the airport there was this poster which warns you to be polite, not litter, and remember that you take up more space with winter jackets on:

There was also this poster with a 70s aesthetic that included a cowboy hat wearing smoker:

Along every sidewalk was this yellow track with bumps very similar to what you see in the NY subway for the visually disabled. We didn't see any blind people but these tracks were everywhere.

And a few final thoughts:

Like 90% of women wear skirts, on Friday night it was closer to 99.9% regardless of the weather.

People point in both directions at intersections to show that they looked both way, walkers and drivers. I did a double finger-gun draw, fire in each direction, blow the smoke out the barrels, and reholster at most intersections (but nobody reacted).

Until we meet again Japan...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Japanese toys at the airport

Japan is know for its toys (or collectibles if you will).  I didn't get a lot free time when I was in Japan last month for work, but I did have some at the Osaka-kensi airport.  There is a small shopping mall that had a small toy store.  I really was expecting more, but of course it was an airport toy store, I get take this to cutesy videos.

Also note: according to the book a Whole-New-Mind (why isn't the Amazon Associates gadget working) Japan's biggest export is now pop culture.

This one is for you Stephanie!

Police use of non-lethal weapons

Now let me just say I am pro-police.  It is also probably the career I would have followed other than rocket science.  I have many cops friends and know them personally.  This comes especially import subject after the number of seemingly police abuses of non-violent protesters last fall in the occupy movement.

Stephen Coleman: The moral dangers of non-lethal weapons

What I find interesting from his report is how pepper spray in Australia only in lieu of shooting someone: an option between shouting and shooting.  The way some American police callously dumped it on people was disturbing to say the least. 

What is even more interesting is the cops I know will not use pepper spray. If you didn't know the version of pepper spray the police and military get is much stronger than anything you get as a civilian.  That stuff sticks on you for hours and is definitely an "area-effect" weapon.  In NY, the arresting officer will be spending at least the car ride in an enclosed area coughing as well.  They may have to spend hours with them.

As far as I know only Sergeants or higher are issued Tasers in the NYPD and go through extensive training.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

More on the future: What will it be like

As I mentioned before, I listen to Doggcatcher when travel instead of the radio.  I listened to two related talks one right after the other and that have good information.  What I really love is just from there titles they seem to present conflicting ideas. (Note: I mention in one of my previous posts whether Doggcatcher is available for the iphone and like my clueless self the open screen says "podcasting for Android" so that the obvious answer I missed is that it is not available for iphone.

TED: Peter Diamandis: Abundance is our future

TED: Paul Gilding: The Earth is full

Fossil fuels are getting harder produce (or get to), nuclear power has significant grand risks, and I agree that solar has a lot of potential, but I really feel more effort should include Solar Power Satelites (SPS).  I'll write more on it in the future, but Rebecca Costa mentions it in "The Watchman's Rattle".

On the second video, it is obvious to me that we must change our economic system that is based on endless growth.  Not only should it change, or must change, but it will change.

These videos do re-enforce my belief that we can overcome the vast multitude of problems we face.

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