I like driving around. You encounter so many mysteries.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
I like driving around. You encounter so many mysteries.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
The other day I was looking in the air and what should fly by but a gaggle of geese. Naturally my mind started to flit around too. Why do some birds have their own group designation? Birds generally are referred to as flocks. But then you have a gaggle of geese or a murder of crows.
Monday, April 28, 2014
For every thing there is a season, they say. They also say that every dark cloud has a silver lining. They also say that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. It's no wonder I'm often confused.
Friday, April 25, 2014
Saw a couple of new problematic technological advances recently. One was this new parking assist feature on the Ford Escape. The commercial I saw had different people in Escapes looking around excitedly with their hands off the wheel while the car parked itself into a parallel parking slot.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
They say the newest thing in advertising is product placement. The idea is you work your product or destination or whatever seamlessly into a scene someone watches in a film or TV show and voila, people adopt those things in their own daily lives naturally. Because they saw their favorite character using it or doing it.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Maybe it's going to happen this time. You know, the total meltdown of technological civilization. We've been warned for years. Our systems are so vulnerable. Hack attacks. Monster brownouts. Giant flares from the sun.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Words drift through my consciousness in different ways. I've floated along using them for years with never a care then one day they bump into my brain like chunks of driftwood into a propeller prop.
Monday, April 21, 2014
We can finally rest peacefully. The long promised advent of robots that can feel has finally arrived. Get ready to pet your Roomba. At least if you want to keep it purring contently on your carpet.
Researchers at Ohio State University, home of the fighting Buckeyes, have managed to teach a computer to distinguish 21 different emotions. They've done so by having it learn different facial recognition patterns.
In case you yourself didn't think you knew 21 different emotions consider that a couple of those they taught the computer were composites, like "happily disgusted" or "sadly angry."
Why does it sound like they got those from Japanese anime cartoons?
In any event, it's a pretty significant achievement, not least because although earlier facial recognition attempts had focused on the six main emotional expressions, the reality is we all express complex compound emotions every day. It's like the difference between seeing a painting with primary colors and watching a film of all the subtle shades in between.
Which may also explain why some people are emotionally stunted. They are just bad emotion readers. Stuck in the emotional knowledge equivalent of comic books when other folks are delving into emotional Tolstoy.
Personally, I think this could help. Like an emotional prosthesis for the clueless. They could have an app for your smartphone. Which could become your emo-phone or your sensi-tone. Better yet, incorporate the software into Google Glass.
Which then could come full circle to the tech world, as computer nerd tech types are legendary for being emotionally tone deaf. And what dumbass guy wouldn't appreciate a little help about when to not try to solve his loved one's problems but "just be there for her."
“Is that a happily disgusted face on you or are you sadly angry Honey?”
America, ya gotta love it.
Friday, April 18, 2014
In this digital world, where every organization wants you to reserve online and every ATM and gas pump requires you to punch a variety of buttons, I often find myself resenting having to make non-choices.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
The world of sports is really just a microcosm of the real world. Just because a person is a sports star doesn't necessarily mean they’re a nice person. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised when one of them gets in trouble for some heinous crime. I mean, devoting your whole life to a single thing seems to get you headed in a weird Biebermania direction right from the start.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The other day I was brewing some coffee in our breakroom and my eye wandered like it usually does, looking for something to fixate on and read. Compulsive reading is one of my many quirks. I had ADHD before they invented it. All I can say is, before I could read billboards and road signs my parents hated having me in the car.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Sometimes we use terms so sloppily. Not really giving much thought to their origins.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Privacy as they say, is dead, but it's still a little galling to note all the ways people keep devising to kick its deteriorating corpse.
Friday, April 11, 2014
I, like you, like most of us, spend a fair amount of time every day consuming one of the largest commodities our culture produces. Commercials.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Ah, technology. I love the way it goes around to what comes around. This great circle of life we call modern times reinventing the wheel of olden times.
So it is with a new app called Spritz. According to PCMag.com, it's promising to help readers eventually read at a rate of 1,000 words a minute. It does this by flashing words one at a time on your device.
I know, sounds like a miniature teleprompter. What could go wrong, San Diego?
But it's not just about flashing. According to them it also eliminates time-consuming eye movement, allowing the "brain to focus on each word, promoting faster reading and higher information retention."
Dude. I'll sign on for higher information retention. Since I've reached the age where even when I'm talking beginning every sentence is an adventure, not sure if I'll reach the period at the end before my mind wanders off, this sounds like a great opportunity to, um... what was I saying?
Anyhow, the Spritz makers also promise to reduce arm and finger fatigue, by eliminating "the inconvenience of scrolling, swiping, squinting, and pinching to read on your devices."
Because, you know, we're burning so many other calories in our obese sedentary lifestyles that we can afford to not burn the miniscule amount we got from genuflecting at our devices. Just lean back in your recliner and have your Kindle flash you.
Funny thing, I already have a device that I can read one word at a time and not scroll, pinch, swipe, or squint.
It's called a book.
Oh sure, I have to go through the incredibly exhausting process of turning a page once in a while but that's the price you pay for superior technology.
Because bonus. It requires no batteries...
America, ya gotta love it.
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Recently I saw a headline on the Google news page that promised to share the entire new Taco Bell breakfast menu. Naturally, I clicked on it. With the teaser they put out a few weeks ago about the Waffle Taco, I couldn't wait to see what other Munchie-friendly concoctions they'd invented. Pancake Taco? French Toast Taco? Donut Taco?
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
What's in a name? Well apparently, a lot. The famous Shakespeare phrase "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" sets aside the whole notion of cultural conditioning. If the other name for rose was "rancid pustule" I'm not sure anyone would stoop to smell it.
Monday, April 07, 2014
I was driving down the road the other day and man did I like it! Modern improved roads are nothing like the barely-paved soft shouldered byways of my youth. They almost drive themselves. All they need is a low track in the center of the lane and they'd be like the Autopia I once pined to be tall enough to ride at Disneyland.
Friday, April 04, 2014
It seems like in some ways we're becoming a more compassionate world. Like I believe in catch-and-release for fish. Problem is I don't actually like to fish. So I just go to the supermarket and buy some salmon. Then take it back the next day.
Thursday, April 03, 2014
There was time when holidays meant more than they do now. Or at least we knew what they meant. I was talking to someone the other day about Mardi Gras, and how it was the last big bash before Lent, and he asked me what Lent was.
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
Conservatives chafe at government intervention in things having to do with business. And seeing how certain regulations increase the burden of paperwork on small businesses it's easy to understand why.
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
I was listening to a commercial on the radio recently and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. On the one hand it was kind of a clever concept. On the other it was vaguely unsettling. Because it was sort of about cannibalism.