Monday, March 19, 2018

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- If credit card commercials were real life

- Also Grief Bacon would be a good name for a Depeche Mode cover band.

- Classic Internet - The crazy nastyass Honey Badger. Still funny 7-years later.

- Me on the morning of St. Patrick's Day vs. me on the morning after St. Patrick's Day

- Very cool potential health testing tool

- The last 50 final round broadcasts of the Masters are now available on YouTube. This is going to kill the productivity of many people in the next few weeks.

- 50 million Facebook user profiles harvested by Cambridge Analytica in major "data breach" (is it still a data breach if Facebook just sold the data?)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Stephen Hawking's Voice

"London is burning and I live by the river" - Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking had one of the most unique and recognizable voices in the world. The thing is - it wasn't really unique. It was computer synthesized and thus fairly easy to replicate.  Can you imagine the potential?

You could have Stephen Hawking's voice do cover songs. It wouldn't work for some songs like the Beatle's Helter Skelter or the Butthole Surfers' Pepper but how cool would it be to hear some Sinatra covers or the smooth baby-making songs of Teddy Pendergrass done by Stephen Hawking's voice.

You could also have Stephen Hawking's voice cover classic comedy bits. Like George Carlin's A Place for My Stuff. Admit it - you'd check that out just out of curiosity.

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Niall Ferguson has an interesting point. The steel tariffs do make a lot of sense if they are part of an overall strategy to pressure China over North Korea.

- Still think John Skipper was forced out of ESPN because of corporate politics and direction more than because of cocaine use or potential extortion.

- If Stephen Hawking was just a famous genius guy in a wheelchair to you - this post let's you understand what Stephen Hawking was really famous for.

- Heh Heh (took me a minute)

- Cool science

- Holy Cross to dump knight mascot but keep Crusader name. The people running Holy Cross seem to be a bunch of spineless idiots.

- Who knew? The phrase "I'd drink her dirty bathwater" first originated with an Irish nun.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

My favorite thing about 16 seed UMBC's upset over number 1 seed Virginia is the fact that to most people Stringer Bell from The Wire is UMBC's most famous alumni... Heh heh... This is tangentially Irish but did you know the scientific term "quarks" (a type of subatomic particle) was taken from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake?... So beautiful (Keukenhof, Holland)... Danny Woodhead has announced his retirement from the NFL. He was one of the easiest people to root for in the past decade... Opening Day is fast approaching. We are that much closer to the dulcet tones of Carl Ripken Jr. calling baseball games... Was on a recent JetBlue flight where they had to shut down the entire plane prior to take-off to reboot the plane's computer system. Guy next to me commented "I guess CTRL ALT DEL didn't work"...

Top 5 - Saint Patrick's Day Irish Music

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Here are my Top 5 Songs for celebrating Saint Patrick's Day (because Oh Danny Boy is shite).

1. Rocky Road to Dublin

2. If I Should Fall From Grace with God - The Pogues

3. Four Green Fields - Makem & Clancy

4. The Foggy Dew - Sinead O'Connor and the Chieftains

5. I'm Shipping Up to Boston - Dropkick Murphy's

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March - famous because it is forever connected with the murder of Julius Caesar back in 44 BC. Less historically well known is the fact the Caesar was only murdered because Lucius Vorenus wasn't there to protect him.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking has passed away. Despite the many physical issues he faced he never lost his sense of humor. That may be one of the most remarkable things about this remarkable man.

Albert Einstein

Today is Albert Einstein's birthday. Just a reminder that even though E=MC2 is perhaps the most famous scientific equation in history - Einstein never received the Nobel Prize for coming up with it. The reasons for this slight were mostly because Einstein was Jewish. The committee eventually gave Einstein the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his 1905 explanation of the photoelectric effect but that was really too little too late.

As smart as Einstein was it makes me chuckle to remember that when Einstein graduated from our equivalent of high school - he finished second in his class. The name of the person who was valedictorian is lost to history but I couldn't help but think of someone back then saying something like, "Yeah Einstein was pretty smart in high school but you should have seen this other guy!"

Also when Albert Einstein first visited the US in 1921 - the US Senate saw fit to debate the validity of the Theory of Relativity - seriously. The Theory of Relativity just turned 101 years old. In this video uber biographer Walter Isaacson explains the Theory of Relativity in under 3 minutes.

Random Albert Einstein trivia; when Einstein lived in Princeton he had a small 17-foot sailboat he named Tinef which is Yiddish for "piece of junk". I find that endearing.

Finally - 10 Myths about Albert Einstein debunked

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fake News and the Internet

"In America, the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." Oscar Wilde 1887
Interesting look at how "fake news" gets spread on Twitter - an analysis of 4.5 million Tweets shows that falsehoods are 70 percent more likely to be shared. The really interesting part for me was "when bot traffic was added back into the mix, the researchers found that these computer programs spread false and true news about equally." So it's not the bots - it's the people.

To me there's a simple explanation why fake news gets spread more than real news. If something is real then a person is more likely to read it because the topic is of interest to that person and maybe, just maybe share it if the person thinks his social group would also find the subject interesting. Fake news, o the other hand, probably gets spread more because of the "can you believe this?" or the "hey guess - CNN or The Onion?" aspect. Those Tweets count too. 

I like to think that this process is helping the younger generations to have their BS detectors honed at a younger age. Just after learning not to fall for the "I got your nose" gag kids will be learning to take any news story with a grain of salt. Hopefully it will make it much harder for the media or political parties to fool or mislead these generations than it was for older generations.

And hopefully those who learn to discern the truth for themselves will be the managers and leaders of the future. While those you never learn that "I got your nose" is a gag will learn to say "Do you want fries with that?"