Sunday, February 28, 2021

You can tell ...

One can tell when a market is mature, it's when the notion of innovation no longer applies because the products in a specific market differentiate from one another on superficialities, something readily seen in smartphones as the tech has gotten so good and so similar, the notions of products in a mature market such as smart phones having unique selling points becomes meaningless.

To whit ...

Saturday, February 27, 2021

For years ...

For years, yours truly has ranted about the inherent dangers of displays in cars in terms of distraction, bad interface and just downright stupid in compromising the potentially deadly art of driving, something beautifully depicted by the guy giving the finger to same in The Drive 's excellent take on why this is so. Driving is serious business. Ask Tiger Woods about this as he did nothing wrong in trying to negotiate a dangerous curve in CA. This design fubar is a long running disaster resulting in an increase in traffic fatalities, a tragic fact aided and abetted by fools texting on cell phones while driving. 

I have imagined and ... I've have had close calls with bozos distracted by this tech. Is it really that hard for the software vendors to turn their code off when the car's in motion, whether it be in cabin display or cell phone as we got along just fine without this tech for over 80+ years while plying the open road. Worth thinking about don't you think?

Friday, February 26, 2021

Channeling Cars :)

Jakionik is a biggie with yours truly. Being knowledgeable and enthusiastic about cars is their mantra and it shows, especially with their take on the new postal van that reminds one of Cars. All she needs now are eyes in the windshield to complete the Cars vibe but the design's not bad when taking in the exacting requirements of delivering the mail, hopefully on time, to us rubes. :)

The Conveyer Belt ...

Back in 2015, yours truly discussed the loss of Albedo, whereby the effect of turning the North Pole from a reflective source of sunlight to a heat sink, due to the loss of polar ice, would, in part, slow the Gulf Stream. Seems this dire prediction's coming true which, in turn, will eventually turn Sweden, England and connected environs, into an ice box.

An influential current system in the Atlantic Ocean, which plays a vital role in redistributing heat throughout our planet's climate system, is now moving more slowly than it has in at least 1,600 years. That's the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Nature Geoscience from some of the world's leading experts in this field.

Scientists believe that part of this slowing is directly related to our warming climate, as melting ice alters the balance in northern waters. Its impact may be seen in storms, heat waves and sea-level rise. And it bolsters concerns that if humans are not able to limit warming, the system could eventually reach a tipping point, throwing global climate patterns into disarray.


The majority of that heat is redistributed by the atmosphere. But the rest is more slowly moved by the oceans in what is called the Global Ocean Conveyor Belt — a worldwide system of currents connecting the world's oceans, moving in all different directions horizontally and vertically. 

Through years of scientific research it has become clear that the Atlantic portion of the conveyor belt — the AMOC — is the engine that drives its operation. It moves water at 100 times the flow of the Amazon river. 

The prime driver for the slowing is the density of fresh water and how it acts as a cap over salt water.  To whit ...

One important mechanism through the ages, which acts as a lever of sorts controlling the speed of the AMOC, is the melting of glacial ice and resulting influx of fresh water into the North Atlantic. That's because fresh water is less salty, and therefore less dense, than sea water, and it does not sink as readily. Too much fresh water means the conveyor belt loses the sinking part of its engine and thus loses its momentum.

As proof ...

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Biodiversity gap T. Rex style

Seems T. Rex and significant other giant predators had a huge negative impact on biodiversity from hatchling to adult which was much more pervasive than the large predators of today as seem by a piece by Gizmodo describing just how tyrannical T. Rex and brethren were back in the day.

End result

Infographic showing the size distribution among meat-eating mammals and dinosaurs, with a glaring gap among mid-sized dinosaurs. Image: UNM Biology Department

Interesting without question.

Dare Mighty Things

If one looks at the chute slowing Perseverance's rapid descent to manageable levels during the 7 minutes of terror of remotely landing the rover on the red planet, one sees a message more than just apt... Dare Mighty Things. Seems the NASA researchers also love easter eggs to decorate amazing tech, much to the delight of us rubes. :)

On the rover's deck is a symbol-laden calibration target for Mastcam-Z, or the rover's pair of zoomable cameras. The calibration target includes color swatches to adjust the cameras' settings, but also symbols of a man and a woman, a fern, a dinosaur, a rocket traveling from Earth to Mars, a model of the inner solar system, DNA and cyanobacteria, which is one of the earliest forms of life on Earth.

The target also includes the motto, "Two worlds, one beginning," which alludes to the idea that Earth and Mars were created from the same dust swirling around the sun billions of years ago.

Dinos rule. :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

A Coney Island of the Mind ...

Cool guy, long lived, talented and giving, Lawrence Ferlinghetti died at the ripe young age of 101. Back in 1958, using graphical layouts connected to poetry, he created a new genre of writing as seen in his A Coney Island of the Mind 9 poem residing in, of course, A Coney Island of the Mind.

The impact Ferlinghetti had on other creatives was enormous. To whit ...

RIP youngster. :)

We're losing these guys ...

We're losing these guys twice as fast as their seltwater cousins residing in the world's oceans, a frightening thought given just how many people depend on this nature's bounty to survive.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

TDE ...

Something tiny and usually not reacting to entities like us made the scene for the first time resulting from a very distant TDE aka tidal disruption event where a black hole shreded a star.

To whit ...

Daft Punk/RIP

Hypnotic electronica, combined with Escher like choreography/environment, accurately describes 
Daft Punk's Around the World video without question.

Music’s most famous working Parisians, the improbable superstars who went from rave kids to dance heroes to standing next to BeyoncĂ© at the TIDAL launch event, are apparently calling it quits after a long and fruitful career. The timing and manner of the announcement may seem odd, but it still bears mourning. From electronica wunderkinds to disco-house savants to hired-gun production wizards, Daft Punk lived many musical lives in their time together. Their influence extended to everything from Top 40 to underground hip-hop, and even in the most fallow times, they were a totem for hipster coolness, the kind that people like James Murphy invoked with a mix of deference and irony. But nearly three decades of success and several iterations of fame couldn’t change them—they were intent on keeping the helmets on till the very end, even as their progeny rose and fell around them. And if there’s one thing they understood better than any of their would-be successors, it’s that the best way to keep the mystique alive is to never reveal who’s behind it.




Monday, February 22, 2021

A sense of decorum

Having a sense of decorum, you know, having the notion of dressing appropriately, especially in public, no longer applies for a significant portion of the American public. Just go to Walmart to see people in garb designed to show just how so many decide to let it all hang out with nary a care in the world. Now channel this notion in trying to define quality, an essence incredibly difficult to describe but able to be understood if one has the wherewithal to know what quality is when one sees it for the very first time.

With Pirsig, quality is intrinsically connected to morals as to have morals is to have ethics and a sense of what's right, something forever destroyed by Vietnam as civility, along with quality, began to fray due, in large part, to the fact the catastrophe of Vietnam was based on a lie. 

Upon reading Lilia, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance comes to mind as The Tao is to assume nothing and accept the fact change is the only constant, the basis of not only Pirsig's take on dynamic quality being an undefinable essence but also on the act of creation itself, a process of being and not thinking until the act is complete.

The Mantis Shrimp yet again ... :)

We all know about the Peacock Mantis Shrimp and how lethal this little predator is. What people may not know is just how fast it moves in it's environment in search of prey. The other factoid about this very  serious species are it's eyes, the most sophisticated in the world without question.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

1997 - 2021: The rise of the net

Growth of the web: 1997 - 2021 ... trippy says it all along with music and vibe included. :)

Global Recession guesstimates ...


Visual Capitalist is a treasure. Check out their 3 map interactive set starting from 2020 depicting the ongoing Global Recession and guesstimates on how long it will last.

Reality check ...

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund issued a stark warning on Tuesday about the coronavirus’s economic toll, saying that the world is facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression as shuttered factories, quarantines and national lockdowns cause economic output to collapse.

The grim forecast underscored the magnitude of the shock that the pandemic has inflicted on both advanced and developing economies and the daunting task that policymakers face in containing the fallout. With countries already hoarding medical supplies and international travel curtailed, the I.M.F warned that the crisis threatened to reverse decades of gains from globalization.

Any questions?

The Star Spangled Banner ...

My future wife and I were actually at Woodstock as my loyal readers know. Crappy weather, amazing music and a vibe that will never come back, IMHO, describes how the 4 day seance went down, an experience forever etched in our minds. We left due to the weather and exhaustion and ... while being assisted by the noble Wavey Gravy and crew to push our paisley decorated 57 VW van though the mud, we heard Jimi's searing version of the National Anthem, a paean  of protest against a misguided foreign policy initiative based on a lie known as Vietnam. 

The youth of The New Yorker's Paul Grimstad is evident here but also is his passion and knowledge of 60's music ranging from Miles and Monk to Joni and Chuck, something both telling and wonderful as he gets what the late 60's were all about. Read his entire piece, it's the right thing to do. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Winter/Rev III

Winter 2021 seems like the winters yours truly experienced as a kid. Cold, intense Nor'easters and snow drifts up to your waist. Even though this winter is driven by climate change and polar vortexes, 
the end result's the same. Enjoy.

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Game of Life yet again ...

Like starling mumerations, where the endless complexity of thousands of birds flying as one arises from simple rules, Conway's Game of Life does the same exact thing with endless variations issuing forth, based on. yet again, exceedingly simple rules.

Here is yet another iteration of the Game.

Just some Conway scribbles showing just how curious and creative this man truly was. :)

Last but not least, Conway was one of the people I would have given my eye teeth to talk to based on this warm remembrance of a guy who reminds one of Shakespeare's Puck, a kind genius with a wicked sense of humor.

Before I get to the serious stuff, a quick story about John Conway, a.k.a. the “mathematical magician.” I met him in 1993 in Princeton while working on “The Death of Proof.” When I poked my head into his office, Conway was sitting with his back to me staring at a computer. Hair tumbled down his back, his sagging pants exposed his ass-cleft. His office overflowed with books, journals, food wrappers and paper polyhedrons, many dangling from the ceiling. When I tentatively announced myself, he yelled without turning, What’s your birthday! Uh, June 23, I said. Year! Conway shouted. Year! 1953, I replied. After a split second he blurted out, Tuesday! He tapped his keyboard, stared at the screen and exulted, Yes! Finally facing me, Conway explained that he belongs to a group of people who calculate the day of the week of any date, past or present, as quickly as possible. 

Shakespeare would be proud. :)

Rainy Day, Dream Away

For old guys like yours truly, Rainy Day Dream Away is one of the tunes in Electric Ladyland, one of the greatest rock albums of all time where Jimi was allowed to stretch out and make musical statements that will stand the test of time but ... as my loyal readers know, this is not about Jimi but rather about the new found ability to directly communicate with dreamers for the very first time.

How cool is that. Jimi would get this without question.

The double set album set is unconscious to the nth degree and, yours truly saw Hendrix twice. Still amazed more that 50 years later ...

The late 60's ruled.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Isolated and ... without power

This should not happen but Texas, via ERCOT, decided to isolate and, in effect, privatize their electric grid with emphasis on profits, which means equipment not being hardened against the weather while not connected to the nation's power grid because "you don't want the government messing in your affairs." Ask the folks who are freezing their asses off to see how they feel about this sorry situation now, especially when Terrible Ted splits for Cancun even though his state's frozen emergency from hell started long before the esteemed senator left for balmier skies.

One key reason for this is because Texas maintains its own power grid largely in isolation from those of its neighbor states. In North America, most customers are served by two major grids that operate on the same alternating current frequency—one serving the eastern half of the continent (including the US, Canada, and parts of Mexico) and the other serving the western half. However, Texas—along with Quebec—both maintain power grids that are largely separate from these larger networks.

As we mentioned above, the natural gas market saw power generators competing with home users for a limited supply of natural gas. That gas supply ended up being even more limited by the fact that as much as half the state's natural gas production may have ground to a halt. Natural gas doesn't come out of the wells as a pure gas, and one of its major contaminants is water. As temperatures dropped, that water froze in inopportune places, choking off the flow of gas.

Why not harden the tech?

In addition, the Texas grid, like the rest of the US, has become increasingly reliant on natural gas supplies over the last decade. According to the FERC report, in 2011, Texas lost over a million Megawatt-hours to frozen hardware and mechanical failures; it lost only 120,000 Megawatt-hours to fuel supply problems. The reported problems with natural gas supplies this time around suggest that those numbers will now look very different.

The typical polticians' answer ...

So far, the signs for change aren't good. In addition to Perry's quip about Texans being willing to suffer through blackouts to avoid any oversight, the present Texas governor, Greg Abbott, is busy blaming renewable power for failures that disproportionately affected fossil fuel generation.

It's all about the money, and ... you can't fix stupid.

Of Ice & Moons ...

Scale Differential


Though a glass darkly