Friday, December 31, 2010

Dec 31st? It's a myth!

Come on everyone! Together we can disprove this silly theory of a December 31st. It's an old wives tale. Disbelieve with me now, join hands...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nom Nom Nom

How long has it been since you've had Pho?

If you're not familiar, it's a Vietnamese noodle soup, and is very delicious. Here's my bowl from last night, with tofu. I don't know if you can tell, but this is a huge bowl, and I devoured most of it.

Get a load of this article about Pho:

In the 1950s, writer Nguyen Tuan was condemned as a bourgeois reactionary and banned from publishing after he wrote an elegy to pho. Writers were supposed to focus on the glorious onward march of the revolution, not trivialities such as food. Mr. Tuan's essay was in fact a sly criticism of the Communist Party and the damage its thought police were inflicting on Vietnamese culture. Framing his attack in terms of pho was an effective way to tap into a deep vein of Vietnamese identity.

The Communist government closed most pho stalls back in the 1950s when they represented the insidious force of private enterprise. In the 1970s and 1980s, food was so scarce in Hanoi that most of the speakeasy soup joints that served pho in a semiclandestine way closed down...

Can you imagine having to sneak into an illegal back alley dive for some soup? Crazy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blog Template

After spending years making my blog template more and more busy - adding columns filled with links, widgets, and goo-gaws, I've decided it's time for a simple template.

I enjoyed learning the HTML and CSS I used to set up my custom template of about a year ago, but now I'm in a mood for simplicity.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bad Idea


Here's a picture of a test flight from the first aircraft carrier - the whole prospect seems rickety at best.

What gets me is the little boat that is directly in the path of the biplane. I can appreciate having boats in the area to help the pilot if he splashes down, but directly in his path? Was this a dare? Was he planning to crash into the little boat?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Not Photoshopped


Click on the image to see it full size. The red looks almost like a cluster of blood colored butterflies. Probably the prettiest picture I've ever taken.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

ANOTHER ONE?

Just how many chest freezers are too many chest freezers for a single guy living in a one bedroom apartment?

This neighbor is always coming and going at odd times. Shovels and black bags are a common sight in his back yard, I shit you not. Zero gardening.

At what point do we call the authorities? I mean really. He now has at least three chest freezers.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Credi-Bull #23

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and might be fiction. When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night". Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!

A team of interns with NASA's Lunar and Planetary Science Academy is investigating a phenomenon called 'roving rocks' at Death Valley in California.

These stones are a sedimentary rock called dolomite, and range in size from less than one pound to a maximum of seven hundred pounds. The rocks have a very unusual property - they move thanks to a mysterious force.

The rocks aren't rolling downhill - most specimens actually travel uphill, some moving in pairs several hundred yards and negotiating around obstacles.

The NASA research team has a number of theories to explain the roving rocks - everything from high winds to moist, low-friction clay, to ice and snow, but nothing has been definitively proven.

So - the mysterious roving rocks of Death Valley - credible, or just bull? Vote in the comments.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Real Life Conversation #56

Cookies! Um, are these supposed to be the holy spirit or something?

They're not ghosts - they're snowmen. I'm taking them to work.

(Munching) Yummy either way.

But one came out weird, he looked like some hooded KKK member.

Ah. I assume he was eaten?

No... I think he's in one of the wrapped plates already.

I don't have a comeback for that.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

On Second Thought

I want to go see the new Tron Legacy movie - Michelle has never seen the first one, and I thought it would be good to give her the backstory. I borrowed a copy of the original 1982 Tron from a friend.

(Why is the original so impossible to find, buy, rent right now? I have a theory.)

Michelle was out doing some last minute Christmas shopping last night, so I watched the original on my own.

Wow. Bad movie. For its time, the environments and animations were amazing, but the story, the action, the costuming, the dialogue and anything else you care to mention were stiff and ponderous. Why did I remember the movie so fondly? I guess it was because I was 11 when it came out.

I don't recall seeing it in the theater, though it's possible. I probably saw it on TV a few years after it came out, so I was still pretty young. I think I remembered the arcade game more than the movie itself. I'll bet it's so hard to find the original right now because the movie studio doesn't want to turn people off.

A couple of easter-eggish things struck me - the poster in Alan's cube and a Pac Man on one of the MCP displays.

I've heard good things about Tron Legacy - I'll be going to see it in the next week no matter what.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Extra Extra!

My sister has finally joined the illustrious world of blogging!

Check out her great posts here!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Worst Winter in 30 Years!


My mom sent us an ice scraper from the icy lands of Cleveland and sure enough, we needed it here in the almost-always-balmy land of Florida. Thanks mom!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Credi-Bull #22

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and might be fiction. When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!

There are a wide variety of service dogs, helping patients with Hearing Impairment, Autism, and Epilepsy.

Seizure Dogs sniff out minute changes in a person's biochemistry just before a seizure, and can give warning. Service animals seem a modern idea, but a new article about ancient Rome says differently.

Many Romans kept pets; mice, goats, dogs, and a variety of birds. Julius Caesar is known for many things, including epilepsy - a condition he did not have. Instead, it's widely believed that Caesar suffered from malaria, which can also cause seizures.

An emergency letter sent by one of Caesar's military physicians from Xanten to Trier during the military campaign in 42BC mentions Caesar's prized sturnus (a starling - a small bird known for its creative songs and mimicry).

The doctor ordered that the bird be carried by the fastest courier available, rushed to Trier by the next sunset. The starling was said to alert Caesar with a specific call just before the emperor would succumb to a seizure.

So - - Ancient Roman Seizure Starling - Credible or just Bull? Vote in the comments.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Way to go, Mama

A while back, I talked about the book 'The Disappearing Spoon' which tells the story of the periodic table of elements.

I'd put the book down for a while and returned to it yesterday. Here's a section that tells the story of Dmitri Mendeleev, the guy generally acclaimed for creating the first periodic table.

"Born in Siberia, the youngest of fourteen children, Mendeleev lost his father in 1847, when the boy was thirteen. Boldly for the time, his mother took over a local glass factory to support the family and managed the male craftsmen working there. Then the factory burned down.

Pinning her hopes on her sharp-minded son, she bundled him up on horseback and rode twelve hundred miles across the steppes and steep, snowy Ural Mountains to an elite university in Moscow - which rejected Dmitri because he wasn't local stock. Undaunted, Mama Mendeleev bundled him back up and rode four hundred miles further, to his dead father's alma mater in St. Petersburg. Just after seeming him enrolled, she died."

But what happened to the other 13 kids?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Saints Preserve Us...

My sister (also named Michelle, frustratingly enough - I just call her Brat) now has a blog. I just set it up for her, since she's not all that internet savvy. I think this will be fun - she's ten years younger than me, and she has quite the sharp tongue.

I'll share the link once she has decided what the final URL will be.

(Dramatic Music Plays)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Repeatworthy: She Keeps Bees

It's a bit tricky for me to pin down exactly what it is about She Keeps Bees that has hooked me.

It's sultry and driving, simple and to the point. It's just a guy and a girl, a guitar and drums, nothing fancy. It's consistently high quality music - my favorite songs are probably 'Gimme' or 'Ribbon' but it depends on which song I'm listening to at the moment.

The music is sometimes slow without being dull. It's often very repetitive and circular (I'm sure there's an official musical term for that). I own practically all of their songs, and am looking forward to the new album, which they're recording now. Maybe I can actually go see them in concert! I never get to see my bands in concert, grumble grumble.

In Ocala Florida I can say it's because no one comes anywhere nearby - but I lived in Los Angeles for years and went to only three or four shows (about one a year) so I guess it's my own fault.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Real Life Conversation #55

What's that, with the baring of the teeth? Are you challenging me?

No, it's my jaw.

You've been doing that all day. Feels like a threat.

Just stretching my jaw - it hurts. I think it's the way I'm sleeping.

If I were a gorilla I would have roared, pounded my chest and charged you. I'd be eating your flesh by this point. Is it TMJ?

No...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cosmic Orgasm!!

In February of this year, Michelle's ejection fraction (the fraction of blood pumped out of ventricles with each heart beat) was 15%.

As of Monday, Michelle's EF is 45-50%.

(That's freaking amazing, by the way!)

According to Wikipedia: "Healthy individuals typically have ejection fractions between 50% and 65%. However, normal values depend upon the modality being used to calculate the ejection fraction, and some sources consider an ejection fraction of 55-75% to be normal."

YAAAAAY! Way to go, my Baby!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Credi-Bull #21

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and might be fiction. When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!

The American Great Plains is a vast expanse of open terrain of half a million square miles - perfect land for farming and a prime location for tornadoes.

One thousand tornados hit the US every year. The Tri-State Tornado of 1925 was one of the deadliest tornadoes ever, killing almost 700 people.

In early 1926, President Calvin Coolidge directed the Army Corps of Engineers to solve the tornado problem.

Head Engineer General James Harbor attacked with an innovative weapon - trash. Several U.S. cities had just completed extensive landfills stable enough to build housing developments on top of. General Harbor's plan would ship trash from all over the US to the great plains states for fifteen to twenty years, drastically modifying the topography.

Extensive wind tunnel experiments would allow the engineers to strategically place a series of rolling hills up to 100 feet tall across the great plains, creating windbreaks sufficient to dissipate a storm before it could ever become a deadly tornado. Budget cuts meant General Harbor's plan died on the drawing board, but modern computer models tell us the idea has promise.

So - Did the U.S. consider landfills to solve the tornado problem once and for all? Credible, or just bull?

Real or Fake? Vote in the 'comments' section.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Augmented Reality

You know how all you hear about now is Facebook and Twitter? In a few short years it's gonna be AR that's the hot new topic.

Even Hallmark believes me.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Real SMS Conversation

Me: Lord help me, I'm addicted to that 'Valerie' Glee song.

Her: Switch to Teenage Dream instead. Very addictive too but a little less worm-y.

Me: Teenage Dream sucks, Valerie RULES!

Her: Now now... Valerie does indeed rule but TD is no $2 tranny handjob.

Me: Ooh! I wish I had a red slushie to throw at you right now!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wiki wiki wow wow!

Support Wikipedia


I donated to Wikipedia today.

I love Wikipedia! I use it every single day, for everything from a quick curiosity to work research to working on short stories in my personal time.

I have a goal to start a new article of my own one day soon. Keep up the great work, everyone!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Amy Pond Needs To Eat Something

'Cause Damn.
...And put on some pants, while she's at it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hello World!

Do you believe in blog?
Well I've got something to say about it!
(Music bursts in...)

It was a work day, what can I tell you?

(I encountered something called 'Satan's Hose' which is some sort of colonic gone wrong. I'm not allowed to talk about it.)

Yummy lunch with friends, yummy dinner and chatting with friends. It was a good day.

Also, the cat pooped in her litter box, not at her new favorite place, in the living room near her food dish, so huzzah!

I was gonna work on editing my story, but I am tired.
I will go read 'The Poisoner's Handbook' and go to bed.
(So far, very interesting book!)

Nighty night world.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Brrr!

It's 29 degrees in Ocala Florida right now... Bizarre and wonderful - if only we could balance that out with the 95 degrees it will be in a few months.

I might actually need the ice scraper my Mom sent me from Ohio!

Why is it that I can happily turn the air conditioner down to 70 for sleeping in the summer, but turn the heater up to 73 in the winter?

I think it's the heat that leaches in or out from the windows that makes the difference.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Very cool!

So for the first time in I don't know how long, I wrote and actually completed a short story today! (It helps that it was only five pages long.)

I'm not counting NaNoWriMo, since it wasn't a short story, and I didn't finish it.

I don't know what I'm going to do with the story. Gonna tuck it away for a few days, then give it a fresh read.

Sunday night already?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

New Year's Resolution Starts NOW

I'm going to start blogging at least once a day again. I miss it. I just spent thirty minutes reading over old posts and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. If for no one else but myself, I'm gonna blog every day.

That is all.
Well, until tomorrow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

3 Pics


Is $6.99 a surprisingly low price? Yikes!


From behind, I always think this little statue is Jar Jar Binks.


Ants are cool. This looks more like brown sugar than sand...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A fussy baby on NaNoWriMo Day 24

I'm behind! Why am I always behind? It preys on my mind.

People writing real honest-to-god novels spend years working on them, and I'm sick and tired of my story after a few weeks. This always happens - I realize that I haven't done enough research, that I'm spending too much time babbling about nothing (is it character development to talk about some funny story in the character's childhood? Or a cheap word count trick?) after promising to keep it minimal.

I'm still glad I'm doing it, I will finish my 50,000 words by the end of November, but it's a grind.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WOOT!

It's only 7pm and I'm finally caught up with my NaNoWriMo word count - in fact, I am at 23,336, two whole words ahead of where I need to be. Yay!

Visual Alarms? Site Appearances?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 13

I've written 2,295 words today!

At this moment (9:05pm), I am at 18,021 words - 3,650 words behind where I should be by midnight tonight. Is it possible that I could write 1,825 words yet tonight, leaving only 3,492 words for tomorrow, catching myself up to exactly where I should be starting on Monday?

It's possible. It would be damned hard and would likely take me until midnight. Have I mentioned that I write slowly?

Congrats to my writing buddies Ashley, Brandon, Kelly, Matt, Michelle, and Paul! NaNoWriMo sounds like a lark until you actually try to do it - it's harder than it sounds. That said, I really enjoy slogging through my stories every November - why can't I just keep it up year round? There's always a story I want to tell.

My book is going along well enough, with the typically ponderous pace I am used to. I'm trying to be a good little writer - no skipping scenes, no scrimping. It's been a lot of establishing of characters, and then character development. Ugh.

I've yet to reward myself with a juicy murder - what good is an entertaining murderer if I can't unleash her? At this rate, it'll be a while before there is any unleashing.

~~~~~

Update at 11:47pm - I made it! Whew!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ugh

The NEED to web surf will always expand to fill the available time. There's always 'one more thing' I want to look up.

No progress on my NaNoWriMo book yesterday - well, not the prose. I did add some juicy details to the outline.

And I changed one guy's name from Roger to Daniel. I mean really, who is named Roger? No one. Not a single person.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Etcher's Law #33

Don't kick 'em while they're down.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 7

My book is definitely starting to take shape. At this moment, (8am on 11/7) my word count is not where I would like it to be. It should be at 10,002 and is at 6,576. Not as bad as some (Michelle) but nowhere near the crazy word count of others (Kelly).

Actually writing a work of some length (even a few thousand words) is always humbling to me. Somehow, it seems as if it should be easier. Not that it's hard, but I have this impression that I should be writing faster. It's not a typing speed thing, it's not a writers block thing.

It's as if there is a bandwidth limit on my creative process, even when the scenes I'm writing have been outlined. I assume everyone has a bandwidth limit and I assume it depends on the scene that you're writing - some scenes are definitely quicker than others.

It certainly helps if I don't stop writing every five minutes to research the actual type of dog, house, car, or brand of boots that the scene calls for. Simply plugging in "I'm sorry TIMMY'S MOM'S NAME, but Timmy has RARE BONE CANCER. We'll need to test the family for BONE MARROW COMPATIBILITY TERM." Yeah, coming up with good names can slow me down, so often I will use a placeholder, especially if it's a character I didn't expect to need.

Okay, I've procrastinated enough. On to writing! Good luck to my fellow NaNoWriMonians!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Touchscreen Typing Perfected?

I have a crush on 8Pen. It seems like a great design, and I can't wait to try it.

I predict that this or a method very similar to this will completely change touchscreen typing forever. (Strong words, I know.) Once you've memorized the gestures, you wouldn't even need to have the keyboard visible, which is good since touchscreen keyboards take up half of the screen you're trying to type on.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 3

So far so good. I'm plodding along with my story. Since I have the first half of the book outlined, I know exactly where I am going, so that's not a concern.

I did make a discovery - the introduction chapter outlining the whole scene could totally become its own book, though that's not the story I'm in the mood to tell at the moment. Maybe I'll turn it into a prequel someday.

Good Luck, NaNoWriMo writers!

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Well so much for having my outline completely done. Still, I think it will all turn out just fine. And this year, I'm gonna get my free proof!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

Everything was fine until my clones started fighting over our wife... All of it could have worked out if she'd let us clone her too, but nooo.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Too Lazy to Scrub?

The kitchen is one of the messiest places in the home. Food splatters, crumbs, oil splatters, spills, condensation and the funk that accumulates in cracks and crevices.

One frustrating kitchen chore is scrubbing out the trash can. The best way to do this is to take it outside and use a long-handled scrub brush and a garden hose.

Living in a apartment, I don't have a back yard or hose. Millions of people live in apartments, and have the same problem I do.

So - new from EtchCo! The StackCan!

This trash can is made up of a series of stacked parts that fit together into a sturdy, rigid can for daily use.

Every few weeks, simply unstack the can and arrange the pieces for a quick wash and rinse in your dishwasher! Too 'green' to use a dishwasher? The pieces are easily scrubbed in the sink, and dry quickly!

On the left is a normal can - on the right is a can 'unstacked' into a series of easy-to-wash parts.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo starts on November 1st. I've got the outline for my book about halfway done. This means I have the main plot down and a few minor threads established, along with most of the characters.

Seven days until November 1st.

There's still a lot up in the air, and as usual I have realized that there is a lot more to the subject matter than I thought, meaning I could spend months just researching the thing. I guess that's why books can take years to write, right?

Good luck to my fellow NaNo's!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Newspaper Run

Early Sunday mornings I drive - not run - to the local Kangaroo gas station and quickie mart to get the Sunday newspaper for the much clipping of coupons. Two papers, actually. $3.00 is well worth it.

Michelle does a better job exploiting the coupons than I knew was possible - it seems if you play your cards right, stores will pay YOU for the privilege of taking stuff off the shelves and into your home.


Anywhoo - I always spot this sign for Mary's Cuban Kitchen, and I cannot help thinking that 'Pasteles Y Cake' is a local Cuban folk band made up of forty-something Moms.

Maybe the band performs every Saturday night and is a big hit in the community. Once they even solved the mystery about those unpleasant people from that place that one time (it's safer if you don't know).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Office Supply Woes


I love office supplies! But I'm really picky about what I buy and use. So using three different highlighter brands, with different form factors and marking tip widths tries my patience. I'm using the supplies that my workplace provides - what can I do? But still, fun was had with the highlighting and categorizing. Wheee!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Real Life Conversation #54

Dude! Stephen J. Cannell died!

Who?

Stephen J. Cannell - he created and wrote for a bunch of shows - Greatest American Hero, 21 Jump Street, The A Team, Hardcastle and McCormick, Rockford Files...

Huh. That's too bad.

He died of melonoma. You should get checked out.

But I don't even eat melon.

...

I don't even eat melon! Ha ha ha! Did you hear me?

I heard you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'd only read about them...

I came across this in the front yard of a house near my work.

This pole/chains/basket contraption is a disc golf disc catcher, which I had only seen online, never in the flesh. It looks very 70's to me - maybe it's all the chains?

It seems there is at least one course in Gainesville - we'll have to check it out!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Neat!


I'm not fond of most parts of my body, but I really like my eye color.
I could do without the long, luxurious lashes - wasted on a guy. But what can you do?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturday Night Cat Scratch Fever


"Come on already! Bring the mad beats!"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What the what?

Michelle came across Milanoo.com yesterday as part of a Halloween ad - and this particular costume caught our eye.

If I were naming the costumes, this would be 'Zebra Sex Ninja'.

Is the model here a man or a woman? If it's a woman, she has no breasts I can detect. If it's a man, he has no package that I can detect.

There's just something hilarious about these poses, and I thought I would share.

This first pic has a pretty standard pose - feminine?


It's a shapely person, no doubt about it. You don't often see men in tights, so the default assumption of my subconscious is 'female'.


This next one make me a bit uncomfortable. He/she is getting a little too relaxed. I mean, hello - we just met.


The last one just takes the cake - what is this pose supposed to convey? That he is fabulous? She really needs to pee? I don't know, but it makes me laugh.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chance Favors the Connected Mind



Another RSA video, this time promoting an interesting book. I'll be putting this one on request at the library.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No, thank you.

I came upon this in a restaurant bathroom (after I was finished eating, sadly).

Please say it's not just me - scrubbing your hands with some questionable grainy bowl of something simply does not appeal. Just how long has this stuff been sitting here getting funky? Is this even legal? Do I call the Soap Police?


Friday, September 17, 2010

ZAP

Michelle had an appointment today (Friday) to have an implantable defibrillator (ICD) installed near her left collar bone - it's like having a couple of paramedics following her around just in case.


Here's a device similar to hers - it's actually pretty tiny, considering it can last 5-7 years without needing the change the battery.

There are a lot of different varieties of the device - hers doesn't need to do any pacemaker duties - it will just sit, wait, and monitor in case there's any kind of problem that requires the device to 'deliver therapy' which is a nice was of saying 'it zaps you'.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday Update!

Michelle's recovering well, she was released from the hospital early Saturday afternoon. It's good to be home, and she's doing great.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Packing for Mars

Mary Roach has made a living poking fun at science for years.

She's written a number of fun and interesting books:
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
  • Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
  • Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
  • Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

'Packing for Mars' is her second book I've read - 'Stiff' was also entertaining. I'd also like to recommend a TED Talk by Mary - 10 Things You Didn't Know About Orgasm - interesting and funny stuff.


The book opens this way: "To the rocket scientist, you are a problem. You are the most irritating piece of machinery he or she will ever have to deal with. You and your fluctuating metabolism, your puny memory, your frame that comes in a million different configurations. You are unpredictable. You're inconsistent. You take weeks to fix. The engineer must worry about the water and oxygen and food you'll need in space, about how much extra fuel it will take to launch your shrimp cocktail and irradiated beef tacos. A solar cell or a thruster nozzle is stable and undemanding. It does not excrete or panic or fall in love with the mission commander. It has no ego. Its structural elements don't start to break down without gravity, and it works just fine without sleep."

Mary spends the next 320 pages reviewing the history of US, Russian, and Japanese space programs, demonstrating in an accessible and humorous way why it's so damned difficult to put a human in space and bring that human home safely. Eating is a problem. Bathing is a huge chore. Using the bathroom can be dangerous. The body suffers too - muscle and bone mass simply dissolve away.

Logic tells me that robots are a perfectly fine way to explore the universe. Space is the most extreme of extreme environments, and it's a huge struggle of man hours and equipment to keep us alive and well. Until technology has progress for another hundred years or more, we should simply focus on robots.

My heart tells me that it would be an almost religious experience for me to look up into the sky, look at the tiny pink dot of Mars and think 'THERE ARE PEOPLE WALKING ON MARS. RIGHT FREAKING NOW!'. It would be a huge accomplishment, an amazing achievement, great this, wonderful that...

...But it would be too dangerous and a waste of resources to send a human to the surface of Mars in the next twenty or thirty years. Anything that a person can do, we can design a robot to do better. As wonderful and amazing as we are, robots are better at the grunt work, and exploring Mars will involve a lot of grunt work. We could design a 6' tall humanoid robot that can walk around, hold human tools, perform human tasks... but why would we? We're great and adaptable creatures, but we're too fragile for space travel technology as it exists now.

Just as getting to the moon in the 1960's was a series of slow and careful steps, I'm sure our journey to Mars will be much the same way. Getting astronauts to a science station which would remain in Mars orbit would remove the 20 minutes of transmission delay between Earth to Mars and allow them to use telepresence control of the robots. The orbital Mars station astronauts could even do their work in a simulator room, surrounding them with 360 degrees of monitors, allowing them to have a human's eye view of the surroundings - we would get the benefits of having 'boots on the ground' without risking an additional atmospheric decent/ascent.

One thing has been made very clear to me across all of the space travel documentaries I've watched, books I've read - artificial gravity of some sort will be a necessity for the health and well-being of the astronauts. The term 'artificial gravity' sounds like a joke, but that's thanks to Hollywood - there are a number of ways of accomplishing 'fake gravity', if just through spinning the spacecraft at the appropriate speed. It will cost more to provide gravity, but if it means our astronauts bones and muscles don't melt away to nothing during the trip, it will be worth it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Credi-Bull #20

'Global Warming' is a term we're all familiar with - and it's a phenomenon that most scientists will agree is an actual phenomenon, even if they continue to argue about whether or not mankind is to blame.

It's easy to argue from either position - mankind does release billions of tons of CO2 emissions into the environment every year, but the same could be said of the hundreds of volcanoes on the planet. In fact, an average of twenty volcanoes are erupting at any moment.

Ice core samples from Greenland and Antarctica plot very clear points on the graph of climate change and how variable it is. The Earth has had very stable weather for the past 10,000 years - and it's no coincidence that this point marks the beginning of human history.

As every last crystal of ice on the planet slowly melts, the coastlines of the planet will change drastically - and many lowland plains currently used for cultivation will be flooded.

One solution to flooded farmland is something originally invented in ancient Bangladesh hundreds of years ago - floating plots of farmland. The Bengali used buoyant plots nearly one hundred feet long to grow everything from mango to jackfruit and dates.

So - floating farmland in the ancient past: Credible or just Bull?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mail Embargo

Have you ever found a notice or bill in the mail on Friday night that managed to ruin your weekend? "Jury Duty? Aw man..." You know you'll have some unpleasantness to deal with on Monday, and there's nothing you can do about it until then.

Here's what we've started doing - don't check mail until Monday! With one less weekend worry, you'll be more relaxed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bleeping bleeper

I've vented my frustration with 'things that beep' here but it's not just microwave ovens that are the problem.

I'm a distracted guy, usually in the middle of five things at once. I've gone into the kitchen for some orange juice, noticed there are no clean glasses, unloaded the dishwasher, loaded and started the dishwasher, put the clean dishes away, taken out trash, refilled the water bowl for the squirrels, started a load of laundry, fed the cat and eventually wandered back to the PC, wondering why I left it.

Right! OJ!
Except (son of a bitch) we're out of OJ.

So I set timers. Lots of timers. I set a reminder for anything might need one. But timers and alarms are annoying. Four or more alarms in a day are more than enough to get you irked right there. Thanks to my iPhone, I can set as many alerts as I like.

I do set quite a few...
  • Alarm - 5:30 (ugh)
  • Timer - 10 mins - I dry my towel after a shower
  • Timer - 5 mins - Pancake batter matures as stove warms
  • Alarm - 30 minutes before I'm to leave for work
  • Alarm - 15 minutes before I'm to leave for work
  • Alarm - several weeknights - favorite tv shows
  • Alarm - Monday nights - Call Mom!
  • Alarm - Sunday mornings - Sunday Paper!
You get the idea.

Most alarms and timers have a very grating sound, by design - they need to catch your attention over whatever background noise or music or talking might be going on, and perhaps wake you from a sleep. Our house is very quiet - we don't blast music, and I don't have a house full of people making noise. It's usually me, Michelle, the cat, and we're web surfing, reading or watching TV.

We've reached a sufficient level of technology that any timer or alarm should have options for alert sound volume control and a wide assortment of different ding/ring/beep/klaxon sound effects from even a simple digital timer.

I've tried several options on the iPhone timers and alarms, and settled on the 'Harp' sound. It's actually soothing - I don't grit my teeth when it goes off - and the sound is different enough from the normal background noise that it stands out.

One feature I'd like with the iPhone that is not an option: the ability to record my own alert sound. How about my voice or Michelle's voice saying "Psst! Hey sweetie, don't forget your towel in the dryer. Love you!". Doesn't that sound like a scene right out of a kinder, gentler future - a place you want to live in? Sounds like it to me.

Friday, September 10, 2010

World's Best Cat Litter

Buy it. There is no other cat litter. It really is the best. Yes, it is more expensive, but you will not be sorry. Many products promise to 'neutralize odors' but this stuff really does. It's amazing, and has no noticeable fragrance of its own.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Another problem solved! Nap time?

I'm making a lot of pancakes recently. I've been having fun tweaking the recipe - turns out, adding more baking soda isn't always a great idea.

For one, baking soda is salty, and we're trying to minimize our sodium intake, thank you very much. Also, additional baking soda stops giving you more puff at a certain point, but does thicken the batter, which is 'not so much with the good' for pancakes being done all the way through.

I've tried adding liquid banana flavoring (meh-it's real banana pancakes or forget it), vanilla (meh) and finally lemon. Unsurprisingly, lemon pancakes are delicious! Anyone who likes lemon poppy seed muffins or bread will agree.

I try to control the variables as much as possible - pan, temperature, preheat time, pancake mix consistency, elapsed time before the flip... and still, I tend to allow the pancake to brown too much or not enough.

You would think you could flip an underbrowned pancake back over and it would brown correctly, but you would be wrong. You have missed your chance, Mr. Impatient. You can't put a baby back in the womb, (or can you?) and there are no second chances with pancake doneness.

What's that you're yelling? Cooking and baking is an art, and I should practice? Refine my skills? Learn something?

NO! Once again it is technology which is the solution, and EtchCo to the rescue: I present to you 'The FoodView Extreme!'.

Basically it's a heat-resistant camera in the center of each burner, looking up at the food you're cooking. Originally I pictured a glass-top stove, but The FoodView Extreme! would work with any stove type.

You'll use glass cookware with The FoodView Extreme! - the camera picks up a live feed of your food as it cooks, displaying the image on a monitor built in to the stove itself, into a nearby cupboard, or wirelessly streaming to your iPhone or other wireless device. Color correction software would adjust the image to subtract the ruddy heat glow, ensuring an accurate display of delicious doneness!

Using a phone app, the user can use previously stored images to create a basic image database for doneness - 'Hey, FoodView Extreme! app - in the future, say DING when the bottoms of my cupcakes are this color - thanks'.

The FoodView Extreme! isn't just for the stovetop. With The FoodView Extreme! for ovens, your biscuits and cookies will be perfect each time. No more burnt bottoms! No more underdone middles! Pre-order The FoodView Extreme! today!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Post-It Note: Breathe More

At work, I present seminars over the phone, teaching clients to use our point-of-sale salon and spa software products. During some seminars, I spend nearly an hour talking non-stop. (I've mentioned my need for throat lozenges and the negative side effects of them here.)

Recently Michelle hung out with me at work (my own little Bring Your Wife to Work Day) and watched me do my thing. She was able to give me a few pointers, including something that I was completely unaware of - I often run out of breath.

I've been giving the same seminars several times per day every day for three years now, so needless to say I have them memorized. It seems that I take breaths at the same times for each instance of the same sentence, such as:

"...at this point, Lisa realizes that she forgot her purse in the car. Now, we have a line of customers in line behind her (of course), so we can't just sit and wait on this transaction, we'll need to put this transaction on hold - you'll see a checkbox for this at the bottom right of the register - click the box for 'Place on Hold' then click 'Accept'." (Breath here)

Many of my sentences go the same way - the only time I pause for breath is immediately after I have given a direct instruction. This is a bad idea because I'm probably running out of breath at this point, and even though I cannot realize it, my voice has been getting slightly more faint with each word.

So because of my bad breathing habits, the student might not hear the instruction, and ask me to repeat it - much to my haughty frustration - damn it, weren't they listening? Forget the fact that they are in a noisy environment with hair dryers, people laughing and talking, tv or music blaring.

This sort of 'didn't realize I did that' thing is the reason athletes and other competitors will video or audio record themselves - it's very difficult to have perspective of yourself performing a task.

I was wondering this morning - you can whistle while breathing in as well as breathing out. I realize that whistling does not engage your voice box, so it's an apples and oranges comparison - but I wonder if a person could train themselves to speak normally while breathing in? Air is flowing across the same body parts.

According to Wikipedia: Normal human speech is produced with pulmonary pressure provided by the lungs which creates phonation in the glottis in the larynx that then is modified by the vocal tract into different vowels and consonants. However humans can pronounce words without the use of the lungs and glottis in alaryngeal speech of which there are three types: esophageal speech, pharyngeal speech and buccal speech (better known as Donald Duck talk).

In linguistics (articulatory phonetics), manner of articulation describes how the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs are involved in making a sound make contact. Often the concept is only used for the production of consonants. For any place of articulation, there may be several manners, and therefore several homorganic consonants.

The ability to speak normally while breathing in either direction would definitely be a benefit to anyone who does a lot of public speaking.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Credi-Bull #19

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and might be fiction. When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!

Women spend an average of 70% more time personal grooming than men, and almost half of this grooming is hair removal. It's a common myth that women have less body hair than men - the follicle count for both sexes is the same - around 5 million hairs.

Hair removal for women in the United States came into fashion in the 1920's, when changing fashions revealed more bare skin, demanding more personal time spent grooming, and more money spent in beauty salons waxing and plucking.

Our millions of hairs aren't just an unwelcome remnant from the early days of humanity - hair still serves useful purposes, controlling sweat, managing debris and protecting the skin from abrasion.

Newly published research indicates that hair removal may actually have negative effects for women, especially those trying to conceive a child.

When a hair is plucked, the root is torn from the body - the dermis layer of the skin senses this as an injury, and a series of chemicals are released to repair the damage. When thousands of hairs have been plucked, (such as during a leg waxing) the amount of chemicals released may result in a change to hormone levels, especially the class of hormones known as Androgens. These Androgens could result in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of female infertility.

This research may lead women to an odd decision - keep themselves groomed and infertile, or keep themselves ungroomed - possibly making sex more awkward until the popular fashion surrounding female body hair eventually adjusts to more reasonable standards.

Real or Fake? Vote in the 'comments' section.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Cute Lil Critter

I don't have all that much interaction with the local wildlife - I try to take a hands-off approach. Some of you might remember the trunk frog from about a year ago.

Today there was a super cute little lizard on my car (I want to say he's a gecko, but that's probably incorrect). We were worried about driving with him on the car and tried to shoo him, but he simply hid under the hood.

We ran our errand and came back, and he rode with us the whole way. Big adventure for a little fella!


Saturday, September 04, 2010

Wandering the stacks

We walked around the local bookstore quite bit last night. I already have a stack of books at home waiting to be read, so I successfully resisted the urge to pick up any more.

But I came across some fun covers and thought I would share them. I do not know if they are good books or worth reading, but I do know I liked the covers.


I'm enjoying the whimsy on the bird's face. I like to imagine the artist had fun working on this. What do you mean, that's not whimsy, that's fear? No no no.


This time the bird seems a bit guilty. And it makes me think of Finding Nemo with the MINE? MINE? MINE!


The male brain is made of duct tape, chuckle.



...And the female brain is made of phone cords. Hah!

There is no spoon.

I don't think I could come up with a longer title of a book that I will still want to read - this is the actual title: 'The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements' by Sam Kean.


It's no surprise that the title says it all. If you like science and enjoy finding out little tidbits of back-story about how everything in your life came to be, check out this book. The problem is, he references so many other books that I'll be on a science history reading kick for months.

One thing I learned is that it's really sad how often managers of scientific teams end up wedging themselves in once a project has finally shown some promise, even winning a joint Nobel Prize for not much contribution. It's a good book that I wish was twice as long - there's just enough detail to tantalize.

The main part of the title 'The Disappearing Spoon' is explained on the front flap of the book: "Though solid at room temperature, gallium is a moldable metal with a unique property: it melts at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. So a classic prank for scientists is to fashion gallium spoons, serve them with tea, and watch as guests recoil when the Earl Grey makes their utensil disappear."

So I wondered what would happen if the person being pranked laughed it off and chugged their tea. Is gallium poisonous?

According to Wikipedia: "While not considered toxic, the data about gallium are inconclusive. Some sources suggest that it may cause dermatitis from prolonged exposure; other tests have not caused a positive reaction. Like most metals, finely divided gallium loses its luster and powdered gallium appears gray. Thus, when gallium is handled with bare hands, the extremely fine dispersion of liquid gallium droplets, which results from wetting skin with the metal, may appear as a gray skin stain."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's your 're-enjoy' level?

I've seen a lot of references recently on Twitter to "rewatch" - where you view from start to finish a great classic tv series - such as Farscape, Firefly, Star Trek: TOS, and so on.

I'm conflicted about rewatching. I've probably seen every episode of the first ten years of The Simpsons at least ten or twenty times. At a certain point, I decided that I was 'done' with The Simpsons, and watch it very rarely now. I'd rather move on to something new, something that might have a different perspective, teach me something different or at the very least doesn't contain dialogue I can quote verbatim throughout an episode.

There's a certain safe-at-homeness to rewatching. We're in our comfort zone, and we know we're not going to be disappointed. There can be a certain nostalgia to rewatching as well - I can appreciate that.

During a rewatch, we know what's going to happen, and we don't really need to pay much attention to what's going on. We can miss five or ten minutes and we still understand the plot - at this point, whatever you're watching has become background noise and part of me wonders what's the point?

Wouldn't music be better background noise? At least I could do some writing or something else creative to music. If I have a TV show playing, it's so I can watch it. I was not one of those teenagers who could do homework with MTV running in the background - I'm sure many people can be very productive while they watch TV, but I'm not one of them.

The same thing goes for re-reads of books. I love the Harry Potter books, and have read them all, but the idea of re-reading the whole series doesn't really appeal. It's a huge time commitment, and while yes the books are great... I could be reading something new.

That's not to say I don't re-read books, I do. Waiting a year and re-reading a book I really enjoyed is fun on multiple levels - I've forgotten just enough to enjoy the little details, and maybe I'll discover something new I missed the first time.

It feels as if we gain very little from re-enjoying the same book/TV show/movie over and over - a smart balance seems to be 80% new 20% re-enjoy. Currently, my level is probably 20% new, 80% old, which is depressing - most of what I'm watching isn't necessarily good, it's just a re-run or re-watch. And with Hulu and Netflix streaming, free books from the library - there's really no excuse.

Just think about all the great stuff you could be first-enjoying during your ninth rewatch of something. Maybe something you love even more than Harry Potter.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Key Pocket Horror

For a while, I had three pairs of jeans, which was ok except for the fact that I wear jeans to work every day. Multiple wears and washes per week meant they wore out pretty quickly (wait, it was actually several years).

A couple of months ago, I found jeans on sale at Wal-Mart for $9.99 - score! Since I'm not concerned with the brand name on the label, ten dollar jeans for sitting at a desk on the phones all day works for me.

Except... After I cut the tags off, I discovered to my horrified dismay there is no key-pocket in these $9.99 jeans. I was shocked. It never occurred to me that jeans would or could be made without a key pocket - doesn't everyone have and need keys?

Don't get me wrong, I hate keys and look forward to their obsolescence with an extreme level of glee. They're jangly, clinky, clanky, constantly threaten to scratch my cell phone, cumbersome (especially with the bulky, necessary car remote) but while I still need to have keys, my pants need to accommodate this key need. (Chuckle)

And don't get me started on those belt-loop rings, where the keys dangle free as if all the world is a floppy jangling nude beach.

I decided that even though we don't own a sewing machine, and my sewing skills rate right up there with that of a third grader, if I was careful I should be able to sew on a key pocket of my own in each pair of jeans.

I cannibalized the old denim of my about to be discarded worn-out jeans for material, and set to laborious, cross-eyed work. Key pockets! Yay!

But no. Within a few hours of the first use, a key had wiggled its way between the stitches and was thrusting its determined head out of the key pocket like an enthusiastic sperm. NO! Bad key! Get out of the phone pocket! Go lie down!

So I sat down and spent several hours (I shit you not) carefully stitching a tightly woven barrier of overlapping stitches, like bricks in a wall, the best possible, most damn secure key pocket ever crafted by the hands of someone with all thumbs.

And a couple of hours after use: NO! BAD Key! And my phone is pregnant. The wedding is in March. So let this be a lesson to you - some jeans do not have key pockets - check before you buy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Do Not Disturb

Knock Knock.

Who's there?

Angel of Death.

Angel of Death who?


Angel of Death who is here to kill your first born son.

...?

Seriously. Open the door.

Okay, okay. But my son isn't here. He's on a business trip in Antioch for the annual olives pricing summit.

Well fuck me, the archangel's gonna be pissed.

You could maybe kill my daughter instead?

No, that wouldn't do - I gotta bring the heads back for proof.

She IS a bit manly.

How old is she?

38.

And she still lives at home? Not married?

Yes. No.

Sounds good. Let's do this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Savory Samplings"

A few years ago, I invented a totally new diet. You get to enjoy all your favorite foods, but you don't gain any weight. I may have posted about this topic at some point, but if so I can't find it.

You chew up your favorite foods, then spit them out! All the enjoyment, very few of the calories. I was even going to market a line of special mugs to spit in - was gonna be great.

I was listening to a podcast recently about eating disorders and guess what - chewing and spitting is an eating disorder somewhere between bulimia and anorexia.

Good to know.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hmm... Possibilities

Here's a picture of a bathroom in Tampere Railway Station in Tampere, Finland.

The blue light is to discourage intravenous drug use by making it more difficult to find a vein. Crazy, no?

I wonder if there's a color of light that would discourage calories from my kitchen? Purple?

While we're at it, here's an interesting Wikipedia article on toilets.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A day at the office

Client/Position: Pan (God of Shepherds, Hunting, Music)
Regarding: Marketing Training
Results: Training session was held on-site.

Pan (He asked me to call him Andy - I declined) was interested in "Reaching out to the youth of today, getting them drunk and into the bushes for a little fun."

I explained that our program's primary features facilitated reaching out to clients interested in purchasing retail items online.

At this point he suggested I "loosen up" and offered me some wine and a pipe (NOT his flute). I terminated the session at this point.

Client is still in good standing with his account, but on-site training sessions are to be discouraged.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Credi-Bull #18

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and might be fiction.

When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!


Welcome to Hell - officially named New Castle, Colorado - a mining town founded in the late 1800's.

This town burns from below - with poisonous gases such as sulfur dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide steaming from cracks in the ground.

In early history, this place would have been feared as a portal into the underworld. This isn't a story from Greek myth, but a very real problem known as a 'coal seam fire'.

An exposed seam of coal can ignite for a variety of reasons, usually through human activity - industrial accidents such as an underground gas explosion or burning landfill trash. Some coal fires are thought to spontaneously ignite from brush fires or simply with the correct temperature conditions and coal type.

There are hundreds of coal seam fires around the world, with at least one hundred different fires burning right now across nine U.S. states, with no real way to extinguish them.

The oldest known subterranean coal fire is Australia's 'Burning Mountain', estimated by scientists to have been burning for 6,000 years - it was originally mistaken for a volcano.

Real or Fake?
Vote in the 'comments' section.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Not Safe For Work

Michelle just sent me this link yesterday - how is it I found out through my wife, and not through one of the many sciencey-techy-fun websites I frequent?

If you have not had the pleasure, I present to to you 'F*** Me Ray Bradbury'. Pretty damned funny. Here's an article with Rachel Bloom, the writer and star of the video.



I was forced to watch Twilight - New Moon a couple of hours after this. I complained that if I had to watch such treacle, Bella could at the very least have boobs. Michelle pointed out that "You had boobs earlier, with the Ray Bradbury thing."

Fair enough.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

DELETE DELETE DELETE

I just updated Adobe Reader and whew, good thing too - my productivity has really been suffering lately! Oh wait, no it hasn't. Well, I haven't been very productive, but that's not because of Adobe Reader.

So ok, fine, I updated Adobe Reader. And let's take a look - yep, I have new desktop icon for Adobe Reader 9. DELETE. Yes, computer I'm really really sure I want to delete this useless shortcut.

Why would I ever need a shortcut for Adobe Reader? It opens automatically when needed. Same thing with QuickTime, why would I need a desktop shortcut? If I had the paid, professional versions of these programs, and I was creating content - then sure, maybe I want a shortcut. Otherwise, don't clutter my space, thank you.

This sort of thing why older folks using PC's have desktops crammed full with dozens of shortcuts - and not knowing what they can safely delete, they leave it all there - then they wonder why everything is so busy and confusing. It's not their fault, it's bad practices on the part of software designers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hey there, little fella!


Each of the pics I snapped of this tiny lizard came out a bit blurry thanks to his size and the fact that he's perched on the outside of the screen. The body alone is about an inch long, and he skittered around the patio window for a good twenty minutes, amusing the cat greatly.

Another thing I wanted to mention - for some reason with my iPhone4, the original orientation of pictures seem to be embedded into the file itself. So if a picture was taken 'upside down', then even if I rotate the image in Photoshop and save in a new orientation, when I import into Blogger, the picture is once again/still upside down.

The only way I've found to resolve this is to take a screenshot of the picture in the final orientation I want, paste into a new file, then save and import the new file. Any ideas, smart people of the internet?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Credi-Bull #17

Credi-Bull - a story that might be fact, and might be fiction.

When playing, please avoid definitive answers like "I know this is true, I saw it on the news last night."..Instead, couch your vote as a "guess" - this will help ensure that everyone gets an unbiased chance to play!

Marie Curie is well known in scientific circles - she won the Nobel Prize not once but twice, in Physics and Chemistry. She was the first woman to win the award. Along with her husband Pierre she discovered the elements 'Polonium' and 'Radium'. They also coined the term 'radioactivity'.

Not a lot was known about radioactivity in the early 1900's, so Marie worked closely with her radioactive test samples wearing no protective gear. She kept radioactive samples in her pocket and desk drawer, and was known to enjoy the blue-green glow the samples gave off.

Marie died of Aplastic Anemia in 1934 at age 67, a condition almost certainly linked to her years of exposure to radioactivity. Even now - more than seventy years after her death, Marie's work papers, cookbook, and other implements are still dangerously radioactive, and can't be handled without protective gear.

But what happened to Pierre? Details are murky, and espionage may have played a role. Pierre didn't have a chance to grow old with Marie or waste away from radiation exposure. Instead, the official cause of death states that Pierre died in 1906 at age 47 when he was run over by a horse-drawn carriage.

Real or Fake?
Vote in the 'comments' section.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do the kids still say WOOT?

We had a cardiologist appointment on Monday, and Michelle had an echocardiogram performed. We received the results on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the measurements taken in an echo is EF, ejection fraction - which is the fraction of blood that is pumped out of the ventricle with each beat - the average person's EF is around 58%.

In February, Michelle's EF was 15.
As of Monday's test results, her EF is now 30-35!

I'm very thankful for the prescriptions, Michelle's much improved eating habits, and all the exercise she's been very dedicated to on a daily basis. Keep up the great work Darlin!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Apple and Liquid Metal

Recent news stories announced Apple's licensing of a company and a substance called Liquid Metal. A Gizmodo story details the applications Apple might be planning with Liquid Metal.

This neat video (if you like sciencey stuff) shows the elasticity of Liquid Metal.



Sure, having sturdier frames for the iPhone would be nice, but let's face it, the frames are pretty sturdy as they are - it's an aluminum alloy. Could a sturdier frame really be the only reason to use Liquid Metal? I don't think so.

I have a prediction - are you ready? Two words: 'Transparent metal'. The glass is the most fragile part of the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch (I like 'iThing' as a collective term), and it's the component that really begs for innovation.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Golf Cart or Tiny Car?



One of these is a tiny car, and one of these is a golf cart. Or maybe they're both golf carts. Or maybe they're both tiny cars. Can you tell?