20 July 2014

Collapsing Capitalistic Holes

An original thought. I do have them once in a while....

This was inspired by looking at a picture on Astronomy Picture of the Day while thinking about markets.

Capitalism is like gravity.

An appropriate amount of gravity is essential for the development of universal "life" (stars, galaxies, planets, space-time). But if gravity becomes too concentrated, and is not moderated by other forces, it destroys everything within its reach and rips the universe apart (black holes).

Capitalism held in check by social forces and governments, and applied to social interactions where it sensibly applies and is kept out of those where it doesn't apply, is healthy, productive and arguably essential to the formation and functioning of modern society. However, if capitalistic forces become too strong, and are not held in check and moderated by other social forces, they will destroy the very society they helped create.

Are You One of Them?

Here's the interesting observation for the day.

Because I bought a top-of-the-line keyboard from a company called Logitech, and because Logitech is apparently more concerned with making flashy and multi-featured and whiz-bang keyboards than with ones that actually hold up over time, I'm having to replace all the letters as they gradually wear off. Maybe Logitech didn't understand that people who bought their keyboards would actually use them for typing, and be putting their fingers on the keys dozens or hundreds or perhaps even thousands of times? You would think that a keyboard manufacturer would have figured out this fact, but you'd be wrong.

Anyway, I'm having to buy replacement key decals. So I go to Amazon, look up key decals, and get the usual way-too-many options.

Happily and unexpectedly, I see there are colorful options. So I don't have to go with simple white-on-black or vice versa. There are blue ones, flowery ones, orcs, shades of blue, etc.

Great, I think, I'll get some of the pretty ones. So I start narrowing my search. After poking around a while, I notice the following, which is the observation referred to above:

All the interesting and colorful key decal sets are for Macintosh keyboards, and for IBM-style PCs there are only the dull white-on-black decal sets!

How interesting. Given that there are 100 or perhaps 1000 times as many IBM PCs as Macs in the world, you'd think that there would be a little more demand for something that the Mac community apparently finds worthwhile.

But no, that's not the case.

So one is forced to the sad conclusion that anybody who uses an IBM-style PC rather than a Mac is boring, plain, un-fun, un-interesting, has no sense of style and is cheap--not willing to spend even pennies to buy products that are creative, innovative, artistic or nicely designed.

I think about myself and all my PC-using friends and conclude yes, it's true.....

11 February 2014

Legal Immigrants

I've been avoiding the Twitter reposts, but had to share this one. From @RobElliottComic:

Giraffes born in American zoos are Giraffrican Americans.

10 February 2014

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn is one of the foremost journalists working in America today. He seems to be absolutely fearless when exposing government incompetence, malfeasance, corruption, and abuses of all sorts with a particular emphasis on civil rights. He has had a private blog plus sponsored blogging positions at a couple online newspapers, and now has created a new outlet to better disseminate stories. Highly highly recommended.


15 January 2014


The Weather Underground ("Wunderground") has long been one of my favorite weather sites. Lot of info at its main site.

I recently saw the Wunderground app running on an iPad, and was surprised to see that a much more detailed and colorful map was apparently available for the iPad than for the PC. So I wrote to the site and asked if I could get that same map through a regular browser.

Here's the answer.

(click and slide to move the map around, zoom controls on the left.)

13 January 2014

Interesting Mondays

Three things of note today:

1. Another fabulous map (thanks to John Bartelt.)

2. Bumper sticker: Stop Global Whining. (Thanks to Mike Lucas.)

3. And from APOD, still one of my top-five internet sites, here is an "interactive infographic" to show you how big or small things are. It's been around for quite a while, but is wonderful to see for the first time or for review.

10 January 2014

Drumming Fun

The Top Secret Drum Corp of Basel?

That's what they say...


Thanks to friend Dorothy Shaw Ariens for the link.

05 January 2014

If you like maps, you've love this:

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World

The Winds of Earth

More in the continuing series, "Wonders of the Internet."

Move left/right/up/down with click-and-hold

Zoom in with double click, zoom out with shift double click

28 December 2013

Dining Dogs and other favorites

Following are some of my favorite videos from YouTube. I think I've posted them before, but they're definitely worth another look.

27 December 2013

Merry Christmas

So I was walking down the street the other day, and for some inexplicable reason I invented a joke.

I'm fairly good at repeating jokes I've heard or read, but I'm not one to actually invent jokes. I just pass them along, like everybody else. The Source of Jokes has long been largely a mystery.

So it was rather surprising to come with something original—if not all that clever or sophisticated. Hey, it's my first try...


So what did Santa say when Mrs. Claus asked him what he thought of Miley Cyrus?


You should be able to figure this out. Send a comment to share the laugh or to get the answer.

You Barbarians

I don't need any more reasons to appreciate Paul Krugman, but he keeps providing them. I liked the last sentence of the second paragraph below. (This is from Krugman's blog, 27 Dec 2013).

OK, I’m a New Yorker. So says the dialect questionnaire from the Times, which I’ve just gotten around to; try it, it’s fun. Actually, what it said is that I’m from New York, Yonkers, or Newark — but close enough.

I was, however, somewhat disappointed that the most distinctive New Yorkism in my speech was the one I already knew about — the Mary, marry, merry test. Civilized people give these words distinctly different pronunciations; the rest of you barbarians don’t.


Update: Mairy, maary, mehry.

12 November 2013

Adventures in Language

or possibly "Language Abuse."

From the  MSNBC headline on an article about self-propelled vacuum cleaners:

New Roomba chews up hair and is 50 percent suckier

Hillary's Age

The average age of an American president, when taking office, has been 55.13 years. The oldest incoming president, Ronald Reagan, was just shy of 70 years.

If Hillary is elected, she will be 69.3 years old, the second-oldest president ever.

Should good Democrats who are otherwise likely to vote for Hillary be concerned?

[[ Age data from Wikipedia. ]]


Bumper Stickers

Two ideas for bumper stickers. They're not original ideas, as I've actually seen such stickers. But they were going to be the first ones I produced. 



Here are some amusing Twitter posts:

Veterans' Day

A couple observations: 

  • A good time to think about veterans would be the next time we're deciding to go to war. --Andy Borowitz, of the Borowitz Report.
  • The best thing America could do for veterans is to stop creating so many of them.

31 August 2013

Words of Wisdom from Twitter

Forget about the past - you can't change it. 

Forget about the future - U can't predict it.

Forget about the present - I didn't buy you one.


29 August 2013

Data Visualization

The following is presented for two purposes:

1. To show relative population densities of the Earth's major regions.

2. To show an example of how creative "data visualizations" can turn the absorption and comprehension of large, complex data sets into childs' play.  Way to go, data visualizers!



It's hard to believe that the colors in this photo weren't helped along a little bit by Photoshop or equivalent. Nonetheless, it's quite a magnificent shot. Click on it to go to the full-size image and story at Astronomy Picture of the Day. (From there, click on the image again to go to full-screen mode, after you read the description.)