Archive: January 13, 2015

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Tuesday,  01/13/15  10:28 PM

Hmmm... to fall in love with anyone, do this.  Where "this" is, answer a series of increasingly personal questions for each other, and then stare into each other's eyes for four minutes.  I guess if you're already predisposed that way - and you'd have to be, in order to try - then maybe this could work.

The shift online continues: Macy's announces massive restructuring.  They're putting a brave face on it - consolidating functions in an effort to streamline operations and provide better service - but they're also closing 14 stores and eliminating 2,200 jobs. 

I find it fascinating to ponder where this trend is going to end?  What will Macy's, Nordstrom, etc look like in 10 years?  In 20?  Will we even still have real stores in the future, or will we all shop virtually with an Oculus headset?

Great news: DTS is making movie and TV dialog easier to hear.  "The neat trick with DTS:X, however, is that it separates dialogue into its own thing that you control the volume of independently from everything else."  Well that would be great!  How often do you listen to a movie at home, and find the volume of sound effects and music to be way louder than the dialog? 

Parenthetically, I have a fifteen-year-old Yamaha receiver; in addition to Dolby and all kinds of surround sound effects, it supports DTS.  I have never used this and had no idea what or who they were.  So be it.

From CNN (of all media): Quran has enough justification for militants.  "The fact that the Paris attacks have something to do with Islamic beliefs cannot be wished away either by claims that Islam is simply a religion of peace, or by political correctness, or because we live in an increasingly secularized modern era that often doesn't take deeply held religious beliefs sufficiently seriously."  So given that, what is to be done?  Honest appraisal is helpful, and articles like this are a good start. 

As is denunciation by Muslim leaders, like Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam. 

Close but no cigar ... the spaceship that almost landed, from Rand Simberg.  "Most reports of Saturday morning’s flight by SpaceX to the International Space Station note that the primary mission was successful, but that the company “failed” to stick the landing...  But to focus on what went wrong is to ignore the many other things that went astonishingly right, and just how close the company came this time to achieving their long-time goal of recovering the first stage of the Falcon rocket."  Missed it by -> that <- much. 

Boo hoo: mainstream Windows 7 support ends today.  Kidding: actually, Windows 7 is still supported for another 5 years.  Good, because that's what I'm using every day, waiting for Windows "nine" (10) to be ready. 

Apple eyes big improvements for iPhone 6s camera.  This is why stand-alone camera manufacturers are doomed.  The volume of smartphones is so high that companies like Apple and Samsung can afford to invest huge sums in incremental improvements.  Smartphones are already the most popular cameras, and more than good enough for most of us.  And they keep climbing up the market, a classic attack from below. 

Whew!  Prime Rib regains its place as a restaurant centerpiece.  What could be finer than a nice rare Prime with a glass bottle of Cabernet?




Tuesday,  01/13/15  10:38 PM

Frequent visitors will know, one of my favorite sites is Inhabitat, a green-focused blog with a lot of interesting stories and pictures.  They also run "green news stories", and this one caught my eye: Obama's veto on Keystone pipeline will likely hold.  I was moved to comment:

"Hi could you please explain to your readers why opposing the Keystone Pipeline is good for the environment?

I’m a serious environmentalist but I’m puzzled by other environmentalists' opposition to this project.

In my view, the pipeline is more environmentally friendly than the alternative means of transporting oil from Alberta to Texas. Perhaps not transporting the oil at all would be preferred, but that’s not on the table. We might as well pick the best way to move the oil.

This seems similar to the equally puzzling opposition that some environmentalists have to nuclear power generation. Perhaps not generating power at all would be preferred, but that’s not going to happen, so if power is going to be generated at all let’s pick the cleanest way to do it.

So what's the answer?  Is this another case, like nuclear power, where environmentalists are on the wrong side of a trade-off, or is there another point of view?


the biggest ocean animals

Tuesday,  01/13/15  11:01 PM

Answering important questions: just how big are the biggest animals in the ocean?

Great chart; please click to enbiggen!

What strikes me is that mammals are the largest animals in the sea, as they are on land.  Clearly a successful strategy for preserving entropy!


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