Bruce White

Blog Post #365: Get up to speed – QUICKLY!!~!

Blog Post #365:  Get up to speed – QUICKLY!!

Taken from: http://www.newsweek.com/elon-musk-building-car-rocket-boosters-969122

Well, well – a car with rocket boosters?

Seemingly that is what Elon Musk of Tesla Cars and Space X fame (and the Boring Company and more).

The article states
“Tesla founder Elon Musk has announced plans to install rocket thrusters in the backseat of the company’s newest car.


“The Tesla Roadster—which is being brought back to life in the coming years—will reportedly sacrifice two seats in the back of the car for SpaceX Thrusters. The private space exploration company was also founded by Musk.

“The “SpaceX package” of the new Roadster was teased by Musk in a tweet on Saturday. “SpaceX option package for new Tesla Roadster will include ∼ 10 small rocket thrusters arranged seamlessly around car,” Musk tweeted. “These rocket engines dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering. Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly…”

The article continues:

“Any concerns of excess power being demanded from the COPV have been quashed by preliminary Roadster specifications. The car will include a 200 kWh battery capable of travelling 620 miles on a single charge. It can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 1.9 seconds.

The SpaceX package will sacrifice the back seats for the thrusters. Musk has regularly referred to the spots as “kids seats.”

“Trade is just that Roadster becomes a 2 seater instead of a 2+2. COPV in place of the kid seats, which is prob wise for many reasons,” Musk tweeted.

“The original Tesla Roadster was released in 2008. It was the first electric car with a top speed exceeding 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph). Musk announced the new version of the Roadster at an event in November last year.

(Bruce adds:) So, kids be the first ones on your block with this Roadster.  Soon all your friends will want one too!!!

 

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Blog post #364: First day of Summer

Blog Post #364:  First day of summer

Taken from: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/19/17479094/summer-solstice-2018-june-21

Today is the first official full day of summer.  So, does that mean anything to us?

We live in a world where sunlight is still vastly important, but we have artificial light readily available.  While our ancestors in the years before electricity had candles, we have lights – with abundancy. Many of us work in offices (or classrooms) with no windows.  I couldn’t tell if it was raining or snowing; if the sun was still up or not. “We” have harnessed power to control our lives. Where in past days, farmers got up with the sun – and today even farms are so electrified that daylight can be compensated with lights.

Mid-summer’s day / summer solstice was an important day in past times.  Shakespeare wrote the comedy “Midsummer’s night’s dream” that this day had some mystic powers; some pagan groups worshipped their gods with this as a special day; Stonehenge seemingly is oriented so that the morning light on Midsummer’s day shone in a particular direction.

For us in the 22nd Century, the day is just another.  We have a few minutes more of sunlight – to play golf or softball; we can mow our lawns in the twilight just a little later.  

Depending on your location, out of the 24 hours of a day – today you might have 14 hours of sunlight (and 10 hours of darkness); or – in Alaska (where my sister and brother-in-law are today) – they will be close to 24 hours of sunlight today.  (But that price will be paid back on December 21st – or so – with close to no hours of sunlight!!)

We have tried to make the sun adjusted to our lives.  We have daylight savings time (is it all going into a sun-bank so we can withdraw an extra hour in the fall for harvest or some other time?)  Some have suggested even double daylight savings light. My friends back in Connecticut have the sun rising today about 5:18 a.m. and setting at 8:28 – Eastern Daylight Time.  (But that might be better than without daylight savings time – when the sun would rise at 4:18 a.m. and set at 7:28!! They would like to move that an extra hour – to 6:18 – and setting at 9:28.  (Who is up at 5:18 to enjoy the sunlight anyway – why not have that second extra hour in the event for activities?

But, whatever the thoughts are, we do still rotate around the sun, the earth’s axis is tilted and we do enjoy seasons – some with more sunshine and some with less sunshine.

What do you think?

Bruce

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Blog Post #363:  How to get hired (or … not)

Blog Post #363:  How to get hired (or … not)

Taken from:  https://www.ozy.com/acumen/do-companies-need-to-shake-up-the-way-they-find-tech-talent/80019?utm_source=dd&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=06182018&variable=8e233d577055ce202c56c4a28f1e4dc7

Today’s article suggests that technology hiring is stuck in the twentieth century.  In these days of online everything, while does hiring (and especially hiring for technology jobs) still rely on the old methods of paper resume, application forms, then face-to-face interviews?

The article states:

Everything about business today is changing, from how companies are run to the way customers interact with brands they love. So it seems incredible that the most important part of building a successful company — recruiting talent — has barely changed at all. Writing résumés, filling out application forms, face-to-face interviews: That’s how it’s been done for decades. If ever there was something that needed disruption, it’s the way people apply for and get jobs.

Even a statement from the Harvard Business Review that “as much as 80 percent of employee turnover comes from bad hiring decisions”.  

I know of former students that interview well.  They come off as friendly, knowledgeable, outgoing.  I also know of very talented former students who are very skilled and yet introverted and interview poorly.

The article further states:

“By relying exclusively on traditional recruiting practices, businesses are not being exposed to the broadest variety of candidates. This is perhaps especially true in technology, a sector primarily composed of college-educated males. In fact, less than 20 percent of people studying computer science today are female and even fewer are Black or Hispanic”.

So, many technology companies are still “good-old-boy” shops.  No minorities, no attempt to break the bonds and try some new ideas.

So, how would you change the hiring process?  Actively seek minorities? Seek women?

It might be a tough challenge!

Bruce

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Blog Post #362:  RIP INTERNET?

Blog Post #362:  RIP INTERNET?

Taken from:  https://www.cnet.com/news/why-net-neutrality-supporters-are-cringing-at-the-at-t-time-warner-merger/

It was a bad week for consumers last week according to this article:

  1. Net neutrality ended
  2. AT&T and Times Warner allowed to Merge
  3. Comcast raised Disney’s bid on 21st Century-Fox film and studios (to 65 billion)

Let’s see.

Net neutrality was thought to keep internet access equal (or neutral).  So a user (think me or you) can access this blog or Facebook or the weather with the same ability as (say) a major corporation.  Seemingly the thought is that now the big players paying more can have their access to the Internet and the little players (think us again) get what is left.  (Hmmm … I’m thinking of the days when I had to use dial up access to get to the internet – I hope it doesn’t go back to that!!!)

The article states: “The FCC voted on Dec. 14 to repeal the net neutrality regulations, established in 2015, which prohibited broadband providers from blocking or slowing traffic and banned them from offering so-called fast lanes to companies willing to pay extra to reach consumers more quickly than competitors”.  

So, let’s say I have Comcast for my Internet provider – but Comcast owns NBC Universal.  I might find that as I watch TV (on my Comcast Internet), I get their content instantly – but (say) ABC content is slow – or might go down.  That might mean that Comcast gets to charge more for ads on NBC since people might be watching it more since it comes in so well!!

As for AT&T and Times Warner, the article says: “AT&T already owns one of the largest broadband networks in the US and is the second largest wireless provider in the nation by subscribers. Now with the Time Warner deal, it also gets popular media properties such as DC Entertainment and HBO.”

“Without net neutrality protections in place, AT&T will be free to block, slow down, or charge fees to competitors like Netflix and Hulu to favor their own DirecTV Now streaming service and HBO content.”

So I like Netflix, but with AT&T delivering Internet and content to my house, it might be slow or off-line – again favoring the programs of the provider.

The third aspect was that bidding wars might come along to snatch up smaller companies.

As the old adage says “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.

Stay tuned – this isn’t done yet!!!

Bruce

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Blog Post #361:  It sure is HOT in Texas (Global Warming)

Blog Post #361:  It sure is HOT in Texas (Global Warming)

Taken from:  https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-does-climate-change-mean-texas

Okay, it is HOT in Texas.  Not a new concept. But maybe it is HOTTER in Texas!!!

This article suggests global warming is going to continue in Texas with these problems:

  • Drought – major dry periods
  • Heat Waves – more days over 100 degrees
  • Flooding and Downpours – but … when it rains it POURS
  • Sea level rise – affecting the Texas coast (maybe not as much as the eastern seaboard, but enough)

The article states:

“Unfortunately, it applies to climate change in Texas as well. With a super-sized state, the impacts of climate change are bigger and badder than in the other 49. In fact, Texas experienced 75 weather and climate disasters between 1980 and 2015, each of which produced at least a billion dollars in losses (across the states in which they impacted), more than any other state.

Here’s what global warming means for the Lone Star State. In other words, “Houston, we have a problem.”

Now global warming has been discussed by smarter minds than mine.  There are facts and figures and projections all over the board. Some suggest that global warming is just a periodic trend – give us a few more years and we’ll be in a global cooling period (maybe some significant number of years).  Or … if we don’t do something soon, the ice caps at the north and south pole will melt. With the melting ice caps, New York, Boston, Miami and other cities right on the coast will disappear under seawater. Food crops will dry up (or will have to be grown in Norway and Alaska).  Cacao and vanilla may have trouble growing in their current locations.

Recently I’ve written about using renewable energy resources.  Some countries are already at 100% renewable energy and others are close – and the United States is quite a distance behind.  Even Australia which has abundance solar energy is not harnessing that energy.


So … maybe there is a chance we can change our lives and our usage of energy to help stem global warming – maybe we need to think, talk and act on it sooner rather than later!

 

Bruce

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Blog Post #360:  Pass me the (Norwegian) Bananas!!

Blog Post #360:  Pass me the (Norwegian) Bananas!!

Taken from:  https://www.thelocal.no/20161003/why-norways-farmers-will-benefit-from-climate-change

Well, maybe not bananas, but Norwegian farmers are having longer and longer growing seasons.  

This article states:

Tore Furevik of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research said that the good crop yields are confirming what climate models have predicted. ”

“We have already observed a longer growing season in Norway; spring comes earlier and the summer and autumn last longer. We see this in the temperature measurements,” Furevik said.”

While the higher temperatures brought on by climate change generally have a negative impact on food production for the rest of the world, Norway is experiencing the opposite. ”

“Norway is among the countries where one sees the greatest positive effect of climate change with a longer growing season,” Furevik said.”

“Although increased precipitation also can give the farmers challenges, we can nevertheless see that the longer growing season gives more positive than negative effects on agriculture. But the harvest will obviously vary from year to year, and some years can experience extreme rainfall that will lead to particularly vulnerable periods,” he said.:”

 

So, global warmth seemingly will push farther north with longer growing seasons.  It also will affect other crops – may be negatively. Seemingly about 70% of all the cacao (i.e. chocolate beans) are grown in western Africa (Ghana  and Ivory Coast) and global warming is predicted less growing areas for chocolate!! (Hmm … since chocolate might be in shorter supply in the future, I better go buy it up and save it now!!!)

(And … vanilla too!!!)

What do you think?

Bruce

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Blog Post #359:  Father’s Day – a tongue-in-check look!!

Blog Post #359:  Father’s Day – a tongue-in-check look!!

Taken from:  https://www.cnet.com/news/fathers-day-list-of-all-the-tech-my-kids-have-wrecked-ipad-nintendo-switch/

Okay a light look at Father’s Day today!!!  Ah yes, Father’s Day! Hmm … in the past, yes, Father’s Days generally came with a tie (I did wear ties most days when I was a professor – but I preferred the funny ones, Looney Tunes, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and sports (Scooby Doo playing baseball, St. Louis Cardinals, Bugs Bunny as Brett Favre).  I also have golf ties, seasonal ties like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, even Easter (with bunnies and eggs) and flag ties for those patriotic days.

I also got cards – and I also got to take my family to dinner someplace (amount went on my credit card, but dads are also known as Family ATM machines!!).

In the article today, the author talks about Father’s Day in a different light – how his children have destroyed his technology items!!

Here is an excerpt:
“My children have destroyed more video games than I care to count.

“I’ve spent a significant part of my working life writing about video games, so as you might expect, I own a lot of them. The vast majority of the TV we consume is now streamed digitally, but video games are the last bastion of physical media.”

“Some, like poor old Splatoon, were flat-up snapped in two. Most got the “used as makeshift frisbees” treatment. Others were used as surfboards on my nice, scratchy wooden floorboards.”

“Let me tell you, nothing beats waking up in the morning to find your favourite video game disc data down on the floor. You know the scratches are there if you dare to look. A waking nightmare.”

But in particular was the destruction of the iPad 2:  The author writes:
“Dear iPad Mini 2, I’d like to thank you for your service.

“When I needed help making my kid sit on the potty during toilet training, you were there for me. During three-hour drives from Sydney to Canberra, you kept my children occupied with your myriad games and Netflix app. When my children woke up at some ungodly hour and I needed an extra hour of sleep or I would literally and actually die, you provided respite.

“You fought well. You stood up well to the punishment of everyday life in a household with two young boys. When accidentally dropped onto hard wooden floors, you dusted yourself off. When yanked off the charger like a misbehaving dog on a leash, you sucked it up like a champion.

“But even the boldest warriors have their limits. iPad Mini 2, you did well. Two months ago, when I tried to charge you for the last time, you started back up for a minute … then died. You never stirred again.

“Rest well, my friend. Rest easy. You’ve earned this.”

While I’ve been into technology a long time, my children were around for the TRS-80; Commodore 64; and early home PC’s (even the ones with dial-up internet access).  Our children grew up on technology and are (not maybe) more technological than their father now – but not the same as the article’s author.

So, how are you doing this Father’s Day?  (As I am writing this two days before the big day, I anticipate I will NOT get a tie this year – but I will get a card – and I will be able to buy dinner for my local family!!!)

Bruce

 

 

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Blog Post #358:  Closing a loophole!!

Closing a loophole!!

Taken from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/technology/apple-iphone-police.html

In the past few years, law enforcement and phone manufacturers have done an intricate dance about security, privacy and public safety.

In particular, Apple, the maker of the iPhone has said that a phone is a private device, and even if the user is a suspected criminal (innocent until proven guilty), the phone (or iPhone) is private.  In a case with a mass execution in San Bernardino California, the FBI wanted the phone to see if the suspected killer was working with others – or had texted others or had other evidence on his phone relating to the incident.

The article states:

Apple has long positioned the iPhone as a secure device that only its owner can open. That has led to battles with law enforcement officials who want to get information off them, including a well-publicized showdown with the F.B.I. in 2016 after Apple refused to help open the locked iPhone of a mass killer.”

“The F.B.I. eventually paid a third party to get into the phone, circumventing the need for Apple’s help. Since then, law enforcement agencies across the country have increasingly employed that strategy to get into locked iPhones they hope will hold the key to cracking cases.”

“Now Apple is closing the technological loophole that let authorities hack into iPhones, angering police and other officials and reigniting a debate over whether the government has a right to get into the personal devices that are at the center of modern life.”

So, Apple comes down on the user side – it is a private communication device.  And the government says something like for public safety we need to find out if this person worked alone, or was part of a larger terrorist cell.

So – does the government have a right to get into personal (electronic / technology based) devices – even if it saves lives?  Or is the individual protected from government interference? For the time being, Apple has made their point. Will the government challenge that?

Bruce

 

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Blog Post #357:  Just a boring blog post today

Blog Post #357:  Just a boring blog post today

Taken from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/14/tesla-in-a-tunnel-elon-musk-to-build-125-mph-underground-transit-line-from-ohare/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fb4ac64ff734

Okay, not quite ‘boring’ as in not-exciting; but ‘boring’ as boring a tunnel.  In this case, the tunnel will go from O’Hare airport to downtown Chicago at speeds up to 125 miles per hour!!!  

The article states:

Musk’s firm, the Boring Company, won a four-company competition to build and operate the underground loop.  The skates, according to a fact sheet from the company, would probably run every 30 seconds, 20 hours per day, the company said. The skates would be battery-powered and “autonomous,” of course, meaning no driver.

“The project will be entirely privately financed, Musk’s company said. The operating firm will keep the revenue collected from passengers and any revenue from concessions. The fare would be about $25, less than the average $45 taxi trip but more than Chicago’s Blue Line route from O’Hare.

So, what’s not to love?  A trip from O’Hare (one of the busiest airports in the world) to downtown at about 60% of the cost of a taxi and about 4 times as fast as a taxi (plus it will run about every 30 seconds!!).  

Tesla / Musk is trying to prove the concept that tunneling can make sense (and maybe make ‘cents’ too).  Subways are so twentieth century as are taxis. Dream big!!

What do you think?

Bruce

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Blog Post #356:  Anniversary

Blog Post #356:  Anniversary

Taken from:  https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/anniversary

Today is our anniversary!!!  (I was going to write today is ‘my’ anniversary which is true, but in terms of a wedding anniversary it takes TWO people).

We have been married forty-four years – 44!!!  WOW. For 62.8% of my life, I have been married to Connie.  You know – that is pretty significant!!!

Are we the same people as got married 44 years ago in Mason City Iowa?  No. We’ve gone through raising and loving two children; loving five grandchildren (I love the comment “If I know grandchildren would be so much fun, we would have had them first”); several jobs; several moves; getting a doctorate; working; traveling – and LOVING each other.  

I truly think I am more in love with Connie now that I was then (and, I was ‘head-over-heads’ in love then).  

Yes, I’m not the man she married – and she is not the woman I married.  Older, hopefully wiser, more experienced.

It was probably something like this:

“I, Bruce, take thee,Connie, to be my wedded wife to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith.”

We have had almost all of those – maybe now ‘richer’ but in those early years ‘poorer’; we’ve had sickness – Connie’s cancer; Bruce’s aorta surgeries; for better (mostly) and some days for worse (fortunately not all that many)).

There have been fights – and there have been great (very great) times – and very special times.  

Would I do it again?  YES (as they say “in a New York second” – which seems to be faster than a second elsewhere).  

Happy Anniversary Connie – here’s to many more!!!

Bruce

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