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Where we’re heading as a society (Happy 4th of July) July 4, 2015

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So Spo-Reflections had posted this 4th of July reflection.

It got me to thinking – the paroxysm we’re seeing in society is interesting. A lot of white people see it as them becoming the minority which is actually true. However some like myself see it as an enrichment of the culture. Exposure to ideas, people, foods from different cultures is fascinating.

But i can speak to where the entire world is heading. I can make a few predictions that may or may not bode well for humanity but we need to be flexible and adapt.

The Internal Combustion engine is going to be a museum piece very soon. The price of long range (200 miles or more) electric cars is falling down. Both Chevrolet and Tesla are about to roll out sub $30K cars of that type.

Incumbent electricity providers – they’re also going to be hurt badly. If you’re invested in public utilities I say get the hell out now. Solar and wind along with storage capacity improvements. I mean with the price pew kW of solar dropping like a rock, and Tesla selling a home battery back for a reasonable price the days of the incumbent energy provider are gone. Plus if you can charge your electric car via your solar powered home – the arguments of the idiots who say electric cars produce carbon dioxide by using the commercial power grid. Ha ha!

Manufacturing has already changed – first it was exporting manufacturing capability to  former third world countries like China and India. But robotics are taking over everyplace. Go and watch how car uni-body’s are formed. It starts off as sheet steel, parts get stamped out, racked and then assembled and welded by robots. And it gets even worse – the engine cores are just steel or aluminum billets milled into engine blocks by CNC machines – essentially robots under computer control. And the robotics is moving to other industries – electronics for example – the circuit boards in your computer – all the parts were places on the board by robotics and it was soldered together in a robotic system. Human hands likely assembled gross parts of a desktop or laptop but even that is changing.

3D printing is interesting too. It’s essentially moving manufacturing into the peoples hands. And to date they’ve made metal parts, human bladders, and they’re learning how to do vascularized tissue too.

Artificial intelligence is another thing. IBM has their Watson and Debater products. People may fear an AI but here’s the thing. We’ve all seen prophetic movies like Colossus: The Forbin Project and War Games. But the IBM platforms are about the size of a pizza box. And as long as we don’t let them control their power connections we’re good. But even if they do control the power – they’re small enough to destroy with a large ax.

Medicine is also undergoing dramatic change right now. What with some of the genetically engineered immunotherapy and the regeneration of tissue coming to the forefront we’re about to see human lifespans increase again. Then add that DARPA is working on two projects right now, the first a way to put the metabolism into a twilight state – where you’re neither dead nor alive but metabolic degradation wouldn’t happen. Upshot of this – a soldier need not bleed out in the field. Instead of having minutes to repair damage you get hours. The second project is a robotic surgical pod. At first they say it’ll be a telepresence pod but they fully expect a fully autonomous surgical robot in the very near future.  What happens when this tech is on all rescue squads?

The third wave of pickling results July 3, 2015

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So I believe I had explained how I did it. For those that didn’t watch here’s what I did:

1) Sterilized the jars and lids. I use the dry heat approach for the jars, boiling water for the lids.

2) Made  brine of 2tbsp of salt to one quart of water. Made a gallon of that.

3) Cut up these mini cucumbers – and parted out the dill and garlic. Yes I used fresh dill.

4) Put the cucumbers, garlic, dill and a black tea teabag in the jar.

5) Pour in the brine up to about 1/2″ or so of the rim of the jar.

6) Let the jars with the pickles sit for a few weeks. After about the first week I opened each jar and reached in and agitated the contents. That right there lets a little lacto-bacillus get in the mix and provide the sour component.

What comes out is a nice, very crunchy and tasty dill pickle with the essence of garlic and a slightly sour taste.

I made three jars – already went through one of them.

Movies: The Lazarus Effect July 1, 2015

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So I noticed the movie “The Lazarus Effect” was recommended on Amazon. So I rented it.

It’s basically a modern twist on the Frankenstein story – except they reanimate first a dog, then a human. And once they bring the human back, oh boy. Everybody dies. Except of course the demon, and of course one of the dead, her former boyfriend that she killed, she brings him back. So two damned demons.

I sort of love movies like that. Part of it has to do with the fact that we’re coming damnably close to being able to bring people back from the dead and extending human life.

It’s just in this particular movie it had the religious gobbledygook. The character who becomes evil incarnate is Zoe. Shed’s a good Catholic girl don’t you know. And before her reanimation she keeps having these nightmares about a burning hallway and people trapped behind a door, their charred hands reaching under the door.

She draws the videographer into this scene – and there’s a little girl, Zoe as a child. When the videographer first gets drawn into the nightmare she notices little Zoe has something in her hand. The second time – she finds out what the girl has – a book of matches. Zoe set the fire. That’s why she kept having the nightmares.

And what person is the one to die during an experiment but Zoe, the Catholic girl that has a lot for which to atone. Hence hell, demon spawn, etc.

Fun movie – even if it is flash cuts from light to dark all the time. Seems Demon Zoe likes to do her dirt in semi or complete darkness.

So watch it if you must. But keep in mind the major themes of reanimation and religious idiocy.

The Bigots are Responding June 27, 2015

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I’ll start locally. Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin of course used language that was a euphemism for ‘intrinsically disordered.” It must really suck to be a Bishop when the church is losing members left and right but yet you still don’t understand that history has passed you by and there is no going back.

Then of course the National Organization for Marriage with their head puppet/pumpkin head Brian Brown is just saying they’ll fight on.

Then you’ve got Senator James Inhofe saying his gay friends agree with his opposition to marriage equality. What gay friends is he talking about? Ken Mehlman and Condoleza Rice?

I think it’s now turned the corner, the arguments are over and all we have to do is ridicule the bigots. And I do mean ridicule them.

If for example they trot out the Levitical statement, ask them to go a text or two before – and answer the question of where the other people came from. You know the others I speak of right? When Cain goes out of the land of Eden, east into the land of Nod, and there finds a wife and spawns humanity, or so they’d have us believe.

And if they talk about the abomination thing, explain that eating shellfish is also an abomination, and pork too.  And let’s not even talk about shaving, mixing of fabric, working on the Sabbath etc.

Then explain the concepts of  copy error, translation error and editorializing. Because that’s the Bible we have today, whether it’s the KJV, NIV, or the like. I like how family guy treats it, that the abilities of Jesus may have been a tad exaggerated.

But in the end, haters gonna hate. So all we’re left with ridicule – just call it their puny god.

At last – marriage equality across the land June 26, 2015

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I never thought I’d see this day. But it’s true.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the sixth district judgement and knocked down the bans in the remaining states.

Now back a few years ago I was all set to file suit against the State of Rhode Island. But the folks at GLAD found out and talked me down. But here’s the thing – the gains in marriage equality over the last couple years have been through the judiciary and not the legislatures. So the folks at GLAD were wrong, wrong, wrong.

Things to survive a 55 mile commute June 20, 2015

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So I’ve been commuting into Cambridge, MA from Providence, RI for a year now.

Survival on that commute dictates a few necessities so that I don’t become nasty and brutish.

Music is a must – so the phone is stocked with music and a good set of Symphonized headphones and I’m a happy camper. They also serve the purpose of in effect saying “Don’t bother me.” That is worth it’s weight in gold. Anyone cute tries that might change, but alas nothing of the sort.

Now an hour and ten minutes of the commute is on a commuter train. So I need something to do. I had played on my phone but network service drops out around Sharon, MA so that was a no go. Plus the phone is small so reading a book on it was challenging.

So I bought an Amazon Fire HD6. It’s  a little six inch tablet but so much better. I’ve got a ton of books I’ve read and am reading on it. So that helps out a lot. And it’s funny – how many people are sitting next to me on the train reading a dead tree version of a book. Meanwhile I’m just swiping through pages on my Fire tablet.

So you can survive a commute via public transit.

A burning hatred for Microsoft Windows June 16, 2015

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So I get home, open my ‘new’ Dell E6420 and I get dunned about Windows updates. I postpone for four hours. But then the machine decides to reboot into the updates some 20 minutes later.  But phase 1 of 3 took, in my opinion too long. So I shut the machine down via holding down the power button.

It booted and went right to phase 3 of 3. Even that was fucking klunky. I had to shut down again, the third try was the charm.

When I finally get to logon I get the reminder there are 24 updates available. This time of course it showed me what they were. Bunch of security updates.

But Linux and in particular Ubuntu – when it has updates you have to approve in essence. And it tells you PRECISELY what’s being installed. And in fact updates to software is pretty frequent on Linux. Windows is every few weeks. But not all updates require rebooting.

It’d be pretty easy for me to make the switch. I have an SSD with Ubuntu 14.04 on it. I should just snap it in and say fuck Windows forever.

A vexing Windows 7 problem might have resolution June 14, 2015

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I’ve now got three different browsers on this Win7 box. Internet Explorer (aka Exploder), Google Chrome, and Firefox.

Now in Chrome and Firefox I note CPU swamping when I’m watching any flash based site. And h.264 and Silverlight are no joy either but they don’t cause as much of an issue as Flash.

I’m seriously considering reverting Flash versions to resolve this issue. Now we’ve always been told keep your software up to date for the reasons of security. But sometimes you just have to say ‘fuck it’ and go with an older version of the software because it can’t run on a 64 bit machine.

Now if I could only figure out why I can’t login to WordPress using two factor in Firefox 38. I key in my username and password and I’m prompted for the authentication code, which I plug in and WordPress blows me back to the login screen. So I’m using Chrome to post this article.

So now I have to use three different browsers – IE to access office based stuff, Chrome to access WordPress and FIrefox for everything else.

The Evolution of the Light Bulb June 13, 2015

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The though hit me today. We light our homes with a far different technology than we did in the 20th century.

First was the incandescent bulb:

Pretty wasteful – a lot of the energy went toward making heat more so than light.

For the most part they got replaced by Compact Fluorescent bulbs:

The CFL did better on power sure – but kind of toxic to dispose of them. So they got replaced by LED based bulbs.

About 3 to 5 watts less power consumption than even the CFL bulbs. The common areas like living room, bedroom, bathroom are all LED lighting

The main goal is to starve National Grid of revenue. I want to see them shrivel up and blow away.

Unbelievable lifespan for a computer June 10, 2015

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So one finally bit the dust tonight. Old Dell XPS M140’s. By reckoning those machines were 9 years old. But the conundrum – if it could be called that is when the last one failed this evening I have no way of getting data off the machine. Or so you might think.

Since they’re vintage computers they use ATA-100 drives. So I got an ATA-100 to USB converter. Just plug it in and turn it on. Ordered a refubished Dell Latitude E6420 to replace the old machine. Cost about $300 with tax. I’m picking it up tomorrow. I got it from MicroCenter.  A warning, their site doesn’t play well with Chrome or Firefox – you have to use Internet Exploder/Explorer.

But the reason the machines lasted so long is that yours truly did a hell of a lot of preventive maintenance. Just to give you an idea, at age 4 I replaced the hard drives on them. And I can’t count the number of keyboards I replaced on them. Or the screens I replaced. In fact the only thing original on the machines were the motherboards. Oh yeah, wifi cards got replaced too.

In essence I get my moneysworth out of computers. But this upgrade is sort of necessary as the ‘new’ machine is Windows 7 Professional which will upgrade to Windows 10 with no issues.

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