February 14, 2015 @ 8:34 PM

doing it (again)...

The more time I spend on social media the more I view my friends as people who define themselves not just by what they do, but the fact that they keep doing it over and over. They are what they do, and the more definitive it is of them over time, the more it is how them wish to see themselves defined. In contrast to them I find myself shifting. Not shifting in huge ways mind you, there is much about my own life that is consistent & 'the same', but there is also the ever shifting focus/reason/purpose of what I do that makes me feel I am a bit different from them. Then again: maybe I am the only one that perceives this.

February 23, 2014 @ 10:33 PM

Hipster '14

For the few (if any) people that read this I thought I'd share this... I now officially live in the Brooklyn of Chicago. Ok maybe there is nothing "official" about it, i.e. no landmarks, for anyone who has lived here as long as I have then it's hard to not notice the recent influx of hipsters. This of course was presaged by the hip bars, cute coffee houses, the local coffee roaster, and of course the Mom & Pop store across the street becoming a nexus for craft beer. So yeah my neighborhood is now officially hip, and I assume the next thing is that 'old guys' like myself will be squeezed out (sound familiar NYC two decades ago? And do you feel behind the times, as always, Chicago?)

January 11, 2013 @ 5:44 PM

A thought for the year 2013

I was recently looking at the periodic table of the elements and in the back of my mind considered how important the pure elements e.g. iron, calcium, magnesium, gold, etc. are to the human body; in fact so much so we make a point to get them through our diet or supplement them if we don't. However while making dinner I also marveled at the amazing chemical complexity of nature and how what I was about to eat was not just a combination of those base elements but rather an unimaginably complex and brilliant combination of them. How vain of us to think then that there is anything we actually understand about science, much less nature.

February 27, 2011 @ 3:33 PM

Contract Coding

This was too big to post on Facebook so I am redirecting it here (but as there is no way to respond here please post back to my Facebook page).

Having stumbled across this desperate post I got the idea to create a site where people in need of programming could post a challenge, a bounty, and a deadline.
From there a countdown clock would start and as time passed the value of the solution would change.
One way would be that the value of the project remain flat until the end i.e. one price for a project completed in a certain period of time, which is the standard model of contracting.
A different, yet also common model, is that the value of project could increase over time. As the client gets more desperate they could "ramp up" the value of the project.
And a third possibility is that the value of a project starts high, then decrease in value over time. This way a clever programmer could jump on a project early, compete with other programmers, and possibly make more money by solving a clients' problem early on.

Kind of a StackOverflow meets KickStarter
So who's on-board?

June 11, 2010 @ 5:01 PM

A personal analysis

Being curious about what is not being reported about the Gulf oil spill, namely the cost of the lost oil to BP, I decided to try to plot it myself.
Using data from here I decided it would be interesting to plot how much oil was lost compared to different countries daily consumption.
Using an estimate of 35,000 barrels leaked per day (from this source), up until June 3 when the riser was cut and the cap was installed and the flow constricted 33%, I came up with this
chart

  1. In only one day as much oil had been lost as was used by the nation of Kenya.
  2. In a little over a week it equaled the consumption of Sweden, and a week after that the consumption of South Africa.
  3. At it's peak it was nearly as much as Indonesia uses in a day, and by today had exceeded that n=mark.
  4. Projecting into the future, by mid-month it will exceed what the UK uses.... ironic, No?

March 28, 2010 @ 7:15 PM

Long Absence

Hard to believe I have not posted here in over a year, especially while the whole time friends have had the pleasure [sic] of my ramblings on Fb.
But of course this site it's-self has not been up for over half a year (oh the joys of being your own admin) and so I am at least happy to have it up again. I will do my best to get everything updated
In the mean time there is of course always Facebook.

November 17, 2008 @ 9:40 PM

More Food Science

I may have either crossed a really odd boundary here, or come up with my most perfect fusion... in either case it is this.
If nothing else this latest mashup is the combination of some of my favorite past-times & passions: computers, food, and building things.
Thus with a few dollars worth of materials from the hardware store (cooler, light bulb, light socket, dimmer), a bit of hacking (the dimmer), a micro-controller (Arduino), a sensor (temp/humd) , and some programming (Python) the result was this:
A computer controlled Tempeh incubator... the status of which can be checked on-line.

October 12, 2008 @ 8:24 AM

Hadron@home

Ok so maybe I'm not exactly colliding sub-atomic particles (... and how cool would that be?! Although I'm not sure what I do with 10,000 tonnes of liquid nitrogen in my living room...), but it's sure starting to look that way...

Soon I'll post photos and details about what I'm really doing

October 8, 2008 @ 11:13 AM

Benefits of dying

This was just too good not to share... http://journeytoforever.org/fyi_previous3.html#240801

September 15, 2008 @ 9:15 PM

Well fancy that...

Being a car owner I have been a long time member of AAA. It's a service I've been pleased with over the years, and which comes with the "added benefit" (insert sarcasm here) of stuffing my mailbox every other month with "AAA Living" which, for those of you have never seen it, I would not describe a "stellar" magazine. In fact at best I might thumb through it once before putting it straight into the recycling.
However this month (I just got it today) I couldn't help noticing the the front page, "Alaska Your Way".
Now if you think like me then you already sense the possible irony that this particular topic might come up this particular month. And I will concede that this might just be a case of my own rampant cynicism, because I do understand that magazine articles are often planned, as well as printed & distributed, well in advance of shifting political winds... but still it's hard to get around this...
Also on the front cover, at the bottom, are listed three other featured articles: "Outside in Tuscon | Candidates Talk Transportation | Chicago's Green Side"...
I'll leave it to you to decide how coincidental that is.

August 24, 2008 @ 3:17 PM

So WTF is the point of an insurance "co-pay"?

If the point of insurance is that I pay, on a regular basis, to have the assurance that the services I need to be paid for will be... they how is it that I am then asked again to pay for the services that I have already paid for?

November 16, 2007 @ 12:26 AM

Quote-of-the-Day

"The Google API is a bitch. Their security is tighter than some freshman I have f***ed"

May 26, 2006 @ 10:48 AM

Good Guys 1 : Bad Guys 0

Ok, I said I would not use my blog as a bully pulpit, however I believe this issue to be important enough to warrant me sharing my personal views on it, namely the Enron verdict.
To say that I am "pleased" with the outcome would be a wrong use of words; if anything, as I have watched the details unfold, I have been saddened by the fact that these two men (Lay and Skilling) allowed themselves to let something as simple, and possibly even avoidable, as greed destroy their lives. Add to this that, given their ages, their impending incarceration will shorten their lives even more, I can not help but pity them.
However, given the sweeping aftermath of their actions (and the actions of others), jobs lost, businesses brought down, and (most of all) the public trust defiled... I believe the verdict was fitting. But more than that (and the real reason I am blogging this) is that it is symbolic...

In these times, finding ourselves constantly reminded how often those who wield power and influence often abuse it, that the final verdict of Enron was a clear and unquestioning "guilty", is to me not only an emblem but a cry that such abuse will not be tolerated.

December 30, 2005 @ 9:07 PM

Deep

The following was "excerpted" from the end of a corporate press release:

[We] use words such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "predict," "project" and similar expressions [snip]. When we make forward-looking statements, we are basing them on our [snip] beliefs and assumptions, using information currently available to us. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in [such] statements are reasonable, these forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions [snip]. If one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual results may vary [snip] from what we projected. Any forward-looking statements [snip] reflect our current views with respect to future events and are subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions [snip].

just struck me as interesting how, with only minor editing, legal jargon can become so philosophical.

September 4, 2005 @ 6:35 PM

Figures...

Ok, I try to curb my cynical tendencies, but this is truly pushing it:
As posted here (which is mostly heartbreaking pleas to help find loved ones):
"Story: You may not have a home anymore, but don't forget to mail in that mortgage payment... That's what the good folks at Standard Mortgage have to say on their web site: http://www.stanmor.com and at the phone number they post for the "help" they want to provide.
WE ASK THAT ALL PAYMENTS BE SENT TO US, AS YOU WOULD NORMALLY DO, TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:
STANDARD MORTGAGE CORPORATION P.O. BOX 53426 NEW ORLEANS , LA 70153-3426. Their "thoughts and prayers" are with us, but not much else.."

I checked the link above and, sure enough, that's what it says.
And it's not hard to imagine that they are seeing, along with everyone else, their inverstments literally going down the drain with the receeding flood waters... but still...
anyone who could as quickly post such a message could also easily show some compassion.

September 3, 2005 @ 2:30 PM

In Response

I started to write about my emotional reaction to the events of the last few days (ones I might still share) but stepped back and decided it would be better to share, from my privileged "cyber-bully-pulpit", my social reactions:

The first is my dismay over what a "white gloved" president our country has. CNN reports "After returning to Washington late Friday from nearly seven hours spent touring some of the most devastated areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana..." CNN
Seven hours? "nearly seven hours"? more like merely seven hours. That's less than the average work day that most most American work every day, year round.
And yes the man might be Head of State and accordingly needs to be in Washington tending to business, but still... only one short day spent surveying the battered region amounts to little more than a "polite appearance".
What would it have taken for him to roll up his sleeves and assist in a physical way, helping to clear debris shoulder-to-shoulder with the unfortunate citizens of the region?. Nothing. And perhaps he did, although I doubt it "...what he experienced of the crisis there was mostly by air. He avoided the lawless parts of New Orleans,..." - again CNN .
And, true, G. W. Bush moving a few boards around would not do anything, would not matter, to the 17,000 people in the Astro Dome but the significance of the gesture would have been vital to the spirit of this country. And it's hard not to imagine that there would have been other leaders in the past who would have know this and done so.
Instead Bush returned to Washington and delivered a speech from the comfort of the Rose Garden while "... [issuing] a memorandum saying Hurricane Katrina had created a "severe energy supply interruption" that could damage the national economy.." - again CNN.

August 12, 2005 @ 7:42 PM

A Start...

I have finally decided to join the masses and start "blogging" this site.
I use that word liberally because, although I do not believe my thoughts are so profound that I MUST share every intimate (or mundane) brain-fart I have moment-to-moment, day-to-day, I do belive that having a website entails a certain responsibility to encourage open discourse and dialog. So my intent is to periodicaly share my toughts on culture and art, with the hope that you (the reader) will in turn share back.
Unfortunately, given the current trend of 'blog spamming' the best I can offer for feedback (short of asking people to create an 'account'... yuk) is direct email.
Hopefully, as this blog grows, you will reciprocate and share your thoughts, and I will in turn re-post your comments, feedback, etc.
- rd