Monthly Archives: January 2017

Digital Pacifiers

From a newsgroup posting:

“He’s learned to use a cellphone to check email when he travels. So where’s the resistance to new tricks? He just doesn’t find that he needs to carry a laptop.

Just because marketing-fueled news tells you the latest fad that doesn’t mean you need to buy all of those latest gadgets. Does it really make
sense to catalogue how many steps you take in a day with a $300 watch? Why? Do you really need to check Facebook while crossing city streets? Why? Is it hip to walk into trees or get run over while tech-diddling?

There’s nothing clever or cutting edge about the general trend toward people never being where they are. It’s nothing more or less than a widespread addiction to high-tech pacifiers, for people too embar[r]assed to twiddle their thumbs and too restless to sit still. Ditto for college students writing papers on dorm room sofas or in Starbucks. They don’t do that because it’s a good way to work. They’re simply restless.” – anonymous (The poster declined to be identified/credited.)

When one of the Apple systems was released, a poster in one forum noted that he had had to write a best man’s speech and had written it on one of the new systems. He noted that it took about three to four times longer than it would have on a desktop system.

Just because you are busy using whatever device does not mean that you are getting useful work done or much of this done. You might just be frantic, or as the newsgroup poster noted, “simply restless”.

Odd Language #189: Making Sacrifices

“We all have to make sacrifices.”

The issue: Who has not heard this sentence being used to justify cuts in employment or services?

I had fun with it several years and had an artist (Rob Carlos) draw another form of this. The drawing was of an evil high priest with dagger in hand. I named the evil priest Bloodbathicus (which Rob thought was hilarious).

Puzzle #192: More Temperatures

It is warming up, and one of the answers to this one is rather warmer. What is the value for x where 2x°F = x°C or where 2x°C = x°F?

There are two answers.

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #190 Solution: More Alphabet Sets

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Free Books at Project Gutenberg

There are a lot of good books to read for free at Project Gutenberg. According to their home page, they have over 53,000 titles which can be read in a variety of formats.

I have read many science fiction books there that are now out of copyright. A recent read of mine is mentioned in my current Odd Language item: Odd Language #188: Proving for Whom?, namely, Andre Norton’s The Time Traders.

Have a look, and let me know if you find any gems.

Odd Language #188: Proving for Whom?

‘Kurt snorted. “That they do not tell you until just before you take your first run. I do not want to know why. But I do know that I am not going to be sent into any wilderness where a savage may run a spear through me just to prove something or other for Major John Kelgarries, or for Millaird either. I will try my plan first.”‘ — The Time Traders, chapter 3 by Andre Norton

The issue: Yet another misplaced modifier. The way it reads Kurt is complaining about a savage trying to prove something for the major. This story is available at Project Gutenberg. Here is the link for The Time Traders.

Puzzle #191: Temperatures

Just a bit of chill outside, eh? As you may know, -40°C = -40°F. What is the value for x where x°C = -x°F or where x°F = -x°C?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #189 Solution: Yet More Marbles

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

*ing in a Winter Blunderland

(For “*”, read “walking”, “driving”, or whatever other things you have to do in the bad waether.)

For me, Monday had interesting weather in the Chinese curse sense.

One of my co-workers was turning over a company vehicle to me. The apartment complex I live in is on a somewhat steep hill. The entrance is at the top. My apartment is at the bottom. He came down, and got stuck in freshly-fallen snow. (Yes, the maintenance people are very good about plowing, but first, the snow has to fall. It was doing a very good job of that, too.) It was a bit of an adventure getting him out.

While doing so, other vehicles got in the way. He said that he initially got stuck because of another vehicle cutting him off. At one point, while we were trying backing up, a man and child came walking by and did not even move aside out of the way.

I saw a few other cases that day of people just not paying attention to the winter conditions.

Hey, folks! Not allowing for winter conditions can cause accidents. Please take care.