February 28, 2012
Albert, Robert, and Jonathan - March 1982
February 23, 2012
Wireless Remote Controlled Cameras
Scott picked up a pair of wireless remotely controlled cameras (Foscam FI8910W Wireless IP Camera). He called me tonight and we played with them a little to make sure they could be controlled remotely. They're insanely cool. You see what the camera sees from any PC on earth (that's connected to the internet). So, you can monitor your house from the office in real time. Plus, you can control the cameras. You can pan up, down, right, left, etc.
So, you can monitor your home remotely over a PC, or even over your iPhone. Plus, they have night-vision also. So, that's pretty slick, I think. I suppose I'll have to pick up a few of these things as well.
"The air will always be too filled with something. Your body too sore or tired. Your father too drunk. Your wife too cold. You will always have some excuse not to live your life."
- Chuck Palahniuk
February 22, 2012
If you have a child in your domain that learned to spell using a cell phone with a numeric keypad, I strongly suggest you start playing Scrabble with them. I've been playing with Jennifer lately, and I'm amazed at how much her spelling has improved.
Of course, it also helps to build vocabulary.
We bought an old-school Oxford English dictionary at a garage sale and we use this to resolve any conflicts, disputes, or confrontations.
She wins about half the time. I win about half the time. We're actually pretty evenly matched.
Plus, It's funny to see her learning to use a dictionary. Next, I think I'll teach her to write in cursive.
February 21, 2012
150' Corona Arch Rope Swing
Here's my shots from Moab Utah, last time I was out there (2010).
8 Interesting Facts About Famous Businesses
February 20, 2012
Does anyone know what this thing is? (High res version in extended entry...)
Update: This appears to be a Federal Signal Modulator (basically a new-fangled civil defense siren).
Anonymous Goes After a Canuck
Some Canuck sponsored yet another internet censorship bill and Anonymous are going after him in a big way with "Operation White North". I'm glad these guys aren't after me. They're hard core.
Russian scientists revive 30,000 yead old plant
So it looks like the commies stumbled onto a little ground-squirrel's seed cache in the permafrost. The seeds in the cache were reportedly 30,000 years old. But somehow, the commies were able to restore the plant. It's alive, producing flowers, and viable seeds. So, my guess is that this plant will now carpet the planet like the Russian Thistle. Thanks again, komrades.
From the mouths of babes...
Jennifer - "Daddy, where did everything come from?"
Me - "What do you mean?"
Jennifer - "Where did everything come from in the whole entire universe?"
August 30, 2002
San Francisco Zoo
Age: 4 1/2 years old
Now, my answer to her is lost to the sands of time. But if I answered her honestly, I'd say "I don't know."
The truth is that I don't think we can know. I don't think we're capable of understanding how everything got here. Can a starfish understand how he got in the ocean?
February 19, 2012
February 18, 2012
Above: Abert's squirrel (or tassel-eared squirrel) (Sciurus aberti). This particular subspecies of Sciurus aberti is Sciurus aberti ferreus. I once asked my neighbor, "Aren't those things endangered?"
He replied, "They are if they're in my yard." :)
February 17, 2012
Postcards from February
I've been splitting my time between Stockton, San Francisco, Morrison, and Madison over the last few weeks. I cobbled together a few images from over the last month or so. Some of these images were captured on my Canon cameras. Some on my iPhone 4S.
This slideshow features a song called 'Stop The Dams' by 'The Gorillaz' off of their D-Sides album.
The images are compiled into a 9 Meg (5:28) Adobe Flash slideshow (2012_02.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above.
If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (2012_02.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.
Click here to view the other slideshows.
Lyrics in the extended entry.
February 10, 2012
Albert R. Kiser 1938-2012
Sad to report that my father has passed away.
February 9, 2012
A Pear for Sarah
Here's what I found in my mailbox. Looks like I'll have to hand-deliver her pear at this point.
Full letter in extended entry.
You Can Rationalize Anything
A friend of mine once was pontificating out loud, I forget what the particular subject was, but he was sort of explaining his reasoning...laying out his logic...but then he caught himself short and said "Of course, you can rationalize anything..." and then continued on with his story.
But that little sentence fragment has haunted me for some time. It's a central focus of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In this book, the author ruthlessly deconstructs logic itself. And, although I couldn't really say that I shared many of his qualms or concerns, I did read through is arguments very carefully.
And now, here I stumbled into someone who also was expressing, in his own way, his concerns with the weaknesses of logic. And I've thought about this for at least a year now, and it's bothered me a good deal. But probably not as much as it should have.
If it's true that "you can rationalize anything", then doesn't that mean that logic is fundamentally flawed? That it is, at best, useless? And, in all likelihood, much worse than that? More probably, it's ill-conceived, poorly understood, and inherently, fundamentally flawed. At the same time, it is alluring, deceptive, and ruthless,
If it's true that "you can rationalize anything," then I think we need to find out if logic shouldn't be scrapped altogether. Something Robert M. Pirsig spent a lot of time going in circles, trying to ferret out. It bothered him so much that he spent a good portion of his life bouncing in and out of asylums, committed voluntarily and involuntarily until he wasn't even sure who he was any more.
But I wanted to avoid that part, of course. I like to think that I'm still sane, even though I'm not clear that I'm the best person to judge that. But I did want to dig a little deeper into this enigma...to pick at this scab on the surface of logic itself...this counter-intuitive enigmatic aspect of logic that allows for us to "rationalize anything".
So last night, I sort of held my breath and started searching and I found this article written just over 5 years ago that says "Smart People Can Rationalize Anything".
Now, I think that I was fortunate that this article didn't spend a lot of time attacking logic itself because a) I'm probably not intelligent enough to even follow these sort of arguments and b) I certainly don't want to end up in a padded cell rocking back and forth in my own feces.
But I did find some very keen observations on working with "very smart people". I've always been convinced that being born with an abnormally high level of intelligence is a special kind of curse. All that it means is that you have no idea what the people around you are thinking, because they don't think at all like you, so you're perceived as different, socially awkward, etc. If you're working for someone else, and you're smarter than them, well this is about as bad as it gets. You're not going to get promoted over them, because that's now how the system works. So you're just going to suffer until you quit.
So, very intelligent people suffer greatly I think. It's a difficult burden to bear. Maybe I'm not as smart as I think I am. That's entirely plausible. But I do suffer greatly when I try to communicate with other souls on this earth. That is well documented.
The article begins out like this:
Smart people can rationalize anything
One of the things we were able to do at Electric Communities was to attract one of the highest density collections of scary-smart people I've ever seen gathered in one place before. There are a lot of nice things about working with smart people. For one thing, they're not stupid. Working with stupid people just sucks. Smart people are good if you need to do a lot of really hard things, and we did a lot of really hard things. But it's not all upside. For one thing, smart people tend to systematically overestimate the value of being smart. In fact, it is really valuable, but they still tend to weight it too heavily compared to other virtues you might also value, such as consistency, focus, attentiveness to the emotional needs of your customers, and so on. One of the problems with really smart people is that they can talk themselves into anything. And often they can talk you into it with them. And if you're smart yourself, you can talk them into stuff. The tendency to drift and lack of focus can be really extreme unless you have a few slower people in the group to act as a kind of intellectual ballast.
I see a lot of myself in this. Now, my sister warned me, as my Abnormal Psych teacher warned me, not to project yourself into every illness, every diagnosis that you read. This is a very fundamental human tendency. But in this, I can't help myself. It's like the guy has been following me around my whole life.
February 8, 2012
Starving deer eating a pear
Sarah, I'm sorry but the deer ate your pear. The mailman refused to deliver it, and the deer finally came around today and they looked so hungry. We got 4' of snow over the last few days and when this little herd came up in the front yard they were so hungry they were eating the pine needles and mullen...stuff they only eat when they're starving...so I gave them your pear. Do you forgive me?
Obama - Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory?
My neighbor once told me that the Republicans possessed "a knack for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory", which really got my attention. It stuck in there really good. Not may things do these days, but that stuck. And it's easy to understand. To grasp. They have a knack for messing things up when they should be able to get their guy into office and turn the country around.
Obama is, IMHO, the worst president in the history of the United States. He's overseen the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
But the Republicans, for whatever reason, seem completely divided and unsure of how to capitalize on this economic malaise. The party is completely divided and seems nearly incapable of producing a single candidate that the party can get behind to drive the divisive Obama from office.
But oddly, Obama seems to have a similar knack, as well. By running deficits of 100 billion dollars a month for 3 years, he's managed to hold on long enough that the economic slide appears to have slowed, at least momentarily.
But instead of hanging onto that glimmer of hope and loudly proclaiming that the worst is behind us...instead of capitalizing on that singular piece of good news, he opts for a change.
He announces that the Catholic church will have to hand out birth control. Or abort fetuses. I dunno what exactly he said, but it makes his little Christmas Tree tax look downright brilliant. He's an idiot, and he's stepped in it this time, and if he's not careful, he may end up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory come November.
The footage from this camera is pretty good, and it certainly makes me want to get out of the country. No doubt about that. But of course, what they don't show you is that it's impossible to actually see what you're filming.
I have a helmet camera already. But the trick is to get it mounted onto your helmet, and then video the trip, with absolutely no idea of what is being recorded. What you need is a heads-up display inside your shades/helmet so that one eye can see what is being filmed. Without that, you're just filming a bunch of stuff and who knows what you'll have until you download it into a computer and view it. Then, you'll be like...holy sh1t...instead of filming a ride across mexico, I filmed the sky over mexico. Very difficult to know what's being recorded. Too hit or miss, IMHO.
However....give me a real-time video inside my helmet, and now we've got something.
Timmy and Purrrrrl
Here's the first photo of Timmy and Purrrrrl together. There were some issues initially. Lots of caterwauling, hissing, scratching, bleeding. But I don't feel any shame. The cats didn't handle it much better.
Remembering Roger Boisjoly: He Tried To Stop Shuttle Challenger Launch
February 6, 2012
sitting on the river bank
"If you sit down by the river bank and wait long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies float by." - unknown
February 5, 2012
Trio Survives Week in the Wilderness
So these three idiots were lost in the Oregon forest for a week. They were cold and hungry. So hungry, that that talked openly of eating their dog. They were 10 miles east of Gold Beach, Oregon. So, walking 10 miles west would have put them at the coast. And they had a week, mind you. It's not like they were pressed for time. Helicopters searched for them overhead the entire time. When they were finally found, they had never moved. They were only 500 yards from a road. That's like 1/4 of a mile. They were only a mile from their Jeep. Seriously, people? You're that stupid? I think people should be charged for their rescue. I'm sorry. But this is pathetic.
Famous Photographers with their most iconic images
Man packs stun gun in his 'carry on' luggage
So they caught this guy with a stun gun in his carry-on luggage and he still managed to make his flight? I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, the TSA has zero reason to search us, and this is in clear violation of the 4th amendment. However, if we're all disarmed, and this guy tries to take a stun gun on the plane, well that sort of changes things, doesn't it?
February 3, 2012
Neal Cassady gets his Denver East diploma
Neal Cassady was one of the main characters in Jack Kerouac's book"On The Road". The high school he attended in Denver finally decided to grant him an honorary diploma, albeit posthumously.
February 2, 2012
Junk Science Double Fail
February 1, 2012
From Jennifer's Algebra "Saxon Math" textbook tonight:
"The ratio of withs to withouts was 3 to 11. If 5600 were huddled in the forest, how many were withs?"
If you think you know the answer, you're wrong. There is no way of knowing the correct answer because not enough information is given. Who is huddled in the forest? The "withs", the "withouts", or both?
I assume that the "withouts" are huddled in the forest, and this is another white-guilt, income-inequality lesson they're trying to pump into our kids. The "withouts" are huddling in the forest because the "withs" are in their fat-cat 1-percenter mansions overlooking the ocean.
Jennifer assumed that the "withs" and the "withouts" were huddled in the forest. The book doesn't say.
If they count off for Jennifer's answer, I'm going to go down there and raise holy hell.
Slow motion video of bird landing
This is a pretty interesting video. It shows that, as the bird lands, it folds and retracts its wings more than once which surprised me, anyway.