Random shots, Part 1

I’ve saved some quick thoughts and observations over the last few months which individually aren’t worth a full blown post but as I’ve taken the time to observe these things, they’re collectively not worth ignoring…right?

Good grief!

I took a sociology class in high school and we spent time on Death and Dying. So many years later, I think Elisabeth Kübler-Ross missed the mark. The five stages of grief are not Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

I say they are: Disbelief, Anger, Sadness, Anger, and Resignation (which really means just pretending that you’re not angry.)

Maybe I should write a book.

Second World?

I heard someone the other day get frustrated with a wireless signal drop and complain about a “First World problem…” That got me thinking…I’ve heard of Third World countries, but why don’t we ever hear about Second World Countries? Is there just a leap from third to first? If not, where are these middle tier countries? Wiki says the term has fallen out of favor after the end of the Cold War. Hmmmm.

Science

I shared a Facebook “poster” on my FB page recently:

“Science is the only thing that disproves science, and it does it all the time.”
– Attributed to Matt Dillahunty

My thoughts: All scientific conclusions are provisional. Nothing in science is 100% certain…there are always error bars. As we continue to refine and confirm the science, the error bars shrink to essentially nothing, but they’re still there. Sort of like thinking outside the box…there is always a box (see #9 and 10 here).

On hotels

There’s a big difference between staying in a hotel and living in one. No need to elaborate.

On coffee, Part 1

Who drinks coffee in a 6 oz cup? What’s the point? If you drink coffee, you probably do it for the caffeine and 6 ounces is pitiful. Now, 6 ounces of espresso-level brew? That’s a start. I typically like to kick off my day with a triple espresso from my Aeropress to prepare my body to accept caffeine in a reduced form (though I have an Aeropress at work and if I do make coffee there, it’s pretty kicking.)

HVAC

“HVAC” stands for “Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning”. I’ve maintained for more than 30 years that if you change the condition of the air, then you’ve conditioned it…meaning, heating it should also be considered air conditioning. Despite a couple of degrees in mechanical engineering (mech engs design HVAC systems), I’ve not been able to get anyone to see that logic, so people still think of “air conditioning” as only “cooling”. It’s also dehumidification, though most people don’t think about that part.

Sigh.

Estranged tension relief

Pond plants Sept 17th 2013The pond should have been, and still should be, a big tension reliever this year. Now it’s a chore, as we have to take time every day to drive the five miles to the house to feed the fish. I would be swimming everyday, but…

I hope next year is better.

Where’s the Knowledge?

Nice quote found in Ray Kurzweil‘s The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence:

The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?
—Chuang-tzu

Speaking of Kurzweil…

…one of his predictions for 2009 in The Age of Spiritual Machines, written in 1998, was that people would carry a host of networked devices on their person…a mini-LAN. He was envisioning what Bluetooth, then being developed, might become. In some ways he was right…Bluetooth does enable mini-networks, but there’s a problem he didn’t foresee: devices may be able to talk to each other, but the apps don’t. At least under the Apple grip model they don’t. My Fitbit may pass data to my iPad (it can’t connect to my iPhone 4), but that data can’t be used by Digifit, and Digifit’s data can’t by used by the Fitbit app. Nor can the sleep logged by Sleep Cycle be used by anything other than itself. I use Med Coach to track and remind me of medications….the history is nice for when the doc asks, but it is only useful in that app. Data portability is the next technological frontier and I don’t know when it will be realized…or even if it will be realized any time soon.

…and Kurzweil redux

Back on the Bluetooth vision, technology is pretty amazing. I learned today that modern hearing aids can be Bluetooth enabled so that wearers can have their phones or music devices or televisions feed directly to the hearing aid. Freaking awesome.

Facebook ads, part 1

On my desktop, I block the ads Facebook delivers so I don’t see any of them, but on my iPad there’s no plug-in for the awful Apple browser, Safari…nor for that matter, Chrome. I don’t notice them too often, so I am occasionally surprised when I actually see the ads. Awhile back, FB said I “might be interested in” some television shows, leading with “The Big Bang Theory“. Okay. That’s a really funny show. Rounding out the trio of suggestions were “Family Guy” and “The Walking Dead”. Um…way off base there FB. So way off I’m not tagging them in this post. I can’t watch more than 30 seconds of Family Guy without wanting to drive hot spikes into my head and I couldn’t get through the second episode of The Walking Dead. Sure, we do zombie-themed dances, and I slogged my way through World War Z, but nope…not a good show. IMO.

Psychological Dice-playing

I’m going to take some heat for this, but no matter how much psychologists and psychiatrists think they know what you are thinking, they’re still just guessing. Psychology is a fuzzy, statistical …uh…science. I maintain that if they are honest with themselves, they’d really say: “Based on empirical evidence, the majority of people will likely react in this way, but there’s no way of knowing if you will.”

Please…a quiet zone on planes!

While crowded into a tube flying through the air…it’s apparently too much to ask for quiet. From the explosions from the four year old behind us to the non-stop yammering of some guy three rows back, why can’t people fly in silence? If I excuse the child, I suppose I ought to cut some slack for the four year old.

The numbing state of television today

Disregarding the “reality” shows, I’ve determined that the stuff the Cartoon Network calls cartoons aren’t, the History Channel is no longer about history, the SyFy (brilliant re-brand, that…NOT!) has I’m not sure what except we saw a laughable worst digital giant alligator ever in the hotel last weekend; oh, and I learned in July that The Learning Channel doesn’t appear to have any programming related to learning…BooBoo and some kind of “survival” show?

Does anybody know a “good” […]?

The blank is usually filled in with something like “repairman.” I never hear, “Does anyone know a mediocre (or bad) plumber?”

Hint: drop the “good”…it’s implied.

Facebook ads, part 2

Facebook was also kind enough to recommend three books to me: The Hobbit, the Bible, and The Lord of the Rings. Read it. Read it. Read it. Try again, FB.

Interesting grouping. Lewis’s Narnia is closer than Tolkien’s, though The Silmarillion read more like the old testament.

Coffee, Part 2

Coffee snob that I am, the only thing worse than Bunn brewed engine cleaner is instant “coffee”. Imagine my snobbish surprise when I tried Starbucks VIA. While it couldn’t come close to being as good as the Aeropress, it tasted far better than any drip or Bunn(sen) burner stuff. Props to Starbucks.

Short takes…one liners

– Most problems in life seem to stem from mismatched expectations.
– The word “worship” makes my skin crawl.
– Poor leadership gets accepted in organizations and people think it’s just a cost of doing business.
– Hilarious term #1 overheard: “creatively constipated”
– Curious term #1 overheard: “open-ended proprietary specification”…wow
– Cool book title seen recently: Mentally Incontinent
– There is a difference between authoritative and authoritarian leadership styles, and some don’t get it.

Beers of the week

Three recent beer tastings to share: Breckenridge Oatmeal Stout, Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown Ale and Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale

Breckenridge Oatmeal StoutBreckenridge makes some good beers and their Oatmeal Stout is pretty good.  Dark, pitch black pour, the mocha head is nice and thick. It’s not a sour imitation like Guinness, going down smooth with peat malt flavors.

Still, while I thought it a little thin,  it is a good stout.

Recommended.

Sierra Nevada Tumbler Autumn Brown AleI was quite pleased with Sierra Nevada’s seasonal Brown Ale.

Hoppier than I expected, this is a good brown, with lots of nutty aromas and flavors. Nice brown pour with a creamy white head that lasted.

I like browns and this is one that should not just be a seasonal. Also recommended. More than the stout.

Post Road Pumpkin AleFinally, I do love the seasonal pumpkin ales. Got to try Brooklyn Brewery’s version the other night.

A bright orange pour is suspect, but I’ll chock it up to the “brewed with pumpkin” qualifier. Light, spicy, it’s a good representative of the genre.

And…recommended.

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