September 5th, 2013 · Comments Off
Last week, Frank Wilczek asked Twitter if anybody knew the name of a very odd object (we posted a video) seen at Susty’s Restaurant in Northwood, NH.
Richard Askew (@ricaskew) not only knew the answer to Frank’s question, he also knew where Frank could buy kinetic forks for himself!
@FrankWilczek Kinetic Fork
Yesterday, Frank’s new toys arrived in the mail and this morning we took even more videos because … surely Twitter is waiting to see what we found!
Tags: Frank Wilczek · funny · geeky · Metablogging · Wide wonderful world
August 15th, 2013 · Comments Off
Doing my bit to get this little vignette added some day to a learned biography of Frank Wilczek:
Me: (sitting in living room, working on Internet stuff) (silence)
Frank: (sitting on porch, working on physics stuff) (laughing and laughing)
Me: (still in living room, not working) What? Oo, what’s funny, what?
Frank: (walking in from porch with open book in his hand, full of enthusiasm) It’s a great quote from Wittgenstein!
And if you didn’t know yet that he’s a sweet-natured guy, he agreeably posed for this picture with his great quote in view on top of the new Viking book he bought at the supermarket and is having fun reading.
Tags: Frank Wilczek · funny · geeky · Wide wonderful world
July 23rd, 2013 · Comments Off
Today (July 23, 2013) Frank and I played hookey from both our to-do lists to continue on with our plan of 40 ice cream cones (in honor of our 40th anniversary.)
Once the hookey plan had been formulated, we completely did it in spades. We went out to lunch at the Weathervane over near Concord. We went to a very enjoyable movie (20 Feet From Fame) at an art house theater in Concord. We bought some health foods at the Concord Co-Op in Concord. And finally, we made our way to a new destination called Dips, where you can make your own frozen yogurt dessert from Stonyfield Yogurt and NH dairy products plus really awesome toppings including my favorite, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
I tried three different flavors of frozen yogurt: Original Tart, Salted Caramel, and (sinfully sweet) Cotton Candy. All were super, but I couldn’t finish my cup.
If you are wondering what became of #2, Frank and I had breakfast together last week in Great Neck on Long Island (NY) and our breakfast was (yum) frozen yogurt with granola topping. Sadly, neither of us now remembers the name of the restaurant, but we definitely will go back there.
If you are still reading this .. please, go buy yourself your own ice cream cone!
Tags: food · Frank Wilczek · New Hampshire! · Wide wonderful world
July 18th, 2013 · Comments Off
We now have three fish again eating up mosquito larvae that try to start new lives in our backyard pond. In this photo you can see two of the three — the two you can see are named Silver and Trigger, for two cowboy horses of our TV childhood.
There was a time when our fish were fancier. A few small koi lived in the pond when we bought his house, years ago. But despite a deep under-rock hole where they can supposedly live all winter long, our koi died in the winter. Koi are delicate blossoms, say the knowledgeable young folk of Uncle Ned’s Fish Factory in Millis, MA (it’s well worth a visit to those true a-fish-ionados.)
So now, we avoid springtime sadness with comets and shubunkin, sturdy small fishlings who survive and even make babies out there in the pond.
Another thing (my) longevity taught me: how to name pond fish. There is a counter-story behind that knowledge. One earlier fishless springtime, I named three small new fish for the three kids’ roles in a play I once wrote — Beauty, Truth, and Justice. But not long thereafter, I had the sad job of telling the family, “I’m sorry to say that for some reason Beauty died…”
It was a sad moment.
So now I name animals after other animals, a practice I recommend to you. And who knows what new wisdom I may discover in my next sixty-plus years?
Tags: Cambridge · Sister Age · Wide wonderful world
July 10th, 2013 · Comments Off
Frank and I have a wild and crazy idea for celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary — we are going to visit a whole lot of local places that serve ice cream cones. Maybe even 40 of them, although that would take time. So I’m making some numbered badges to keep count of our progress.
Arnie’s Place ( 164 Loudon Rd., Concord, NH) was our first ice-cream-Odyssey destination. It’s part of the NH Dairy ice-cream trail. Delicious ice cream, lovely people serving it, and the place itself is enough to lift your spirits. I recommend it!
Tags: Frank Wilczek · New Hampshire! · Wide wonderful world
July 9th, 2013 · Comments Off
Early this morning, walking beside the lake, thinking about things of the future.
I’ll be working with a small start-up nonprofit called WOOC.org (Wide-Open Online Conversations) that wants to be some kind of ombudsman/curator/consumer protection for the onslaught of new MOOCs. But how WOOC is going to proceed — like this image pre-daybreak — is not yet clear.
Tags: Wide wonderful world
April 13th, 2013 · Comments Off
Dear Internet weather gurus, see this stuff on the ground in Concord, NH on Friday morning? That is not rain, it is ice, and the stuff falling hard from the sky and piling up more of it is not rain it is sleet, snow, or hail.
Next time I will believe my eyes, not the Internet, but when a couple of weather services agreed that the current weather in Concord was “rain,” I figured I must be in some local bad spot from which I could easily drive into “rain.”
After I passed the second major multicar accident on Route 93 south, with the precipitation continuing to be small ice chunks, busily piling up on the highway, I reconsidered my idea of trusting the Internet weather guys. I got off the highway onto back roads and drove very slowly south to Manchester, where it was also ice-ing not raining.
Next time I’ll remember that Internet weather reports are based on computerized sensors and stale algorithms, not on actual human beings who live within one thousand miles of NH.
Tags: Wide wonderful world
March 8th, 2013 · Comments Off
I have been co-teaching a course on the ways technology changes our lives. If you read research from even a few years ago, nobody had a clue how smartphones and cloud computing would create amazing new products and kill many old ones.
Case in point: the sophisticated in-dash navigation equipment for cars is being displaced by cheaper more flexible stuff whose brainpower comes from a smartphone.
I am also impressed by the way regulation does not keep pace with invention. Putting a display on the windshield is known to create problems of divided attention, as well as focus issues that cause people to misjudge size and distance of things past the windshield. Such displays are blamed for many airplane hard landings, because pilots imagine the ground is further away than in fact it is. There is no way people should be popping new displays onto car windshields, but there is no law against it, and the pressure against new laws will be a whole lot stronger than the pressure for them until the innovation generates a lot of dead people
lawmakers can point to.
This is my photo of an article in Popular Science, which owns all the rights to it.
Tags: Wide wonderful world
December 30th, 2012 · Comments Off
Not long ago this rolled-out cookie dough was a blank slate waiting for Christmas inspiration. Soon it became a close-packed array of differing choices — then actual cooked cookies, frosted ones, and small good feelings in tummies.
Not a bad metaphor of the year 2012, or perhaps of 2013, coming so soon.
Tags: food · Wide wonderful world
December 27th, 2012 · Comments Off
Following up on TPM story about scary gun-toting Tea Party meltdown of entiitled-rich-guy vs entiitled-rich-guy that was solved by an infusion of million$ to buy Dick Armey out as the power behind “grassroots” Tea Party group FreedomWorks. I was curious about where those millions of cash came from…
Dick Stephenson runs Cancer Treatment Centers of America. If you google for reviews of their centers you find similar comments from AZ and IL. Their target customer seems to be someone with terminal cancer and a boatload of medical insurance.
There is a business model suggested here, very intriguing and hypothetically very profitable. If your insurance company sold you a policy that has a limit of 1 million dollars on it, they really don’t expect you to spend those all before dying. Few patients do. But now, enter from offstage left, a savvy corporation dedicated to getting paid every single dollar your insurance said you could get. So sad for the insurance company’s expectation the insurance-buyer would be too naive and incompetent to collect the insurance they were promised … so profitable for somebody like Richard J. Stephenson, who now has millions and millions in profits to spend to push US election results his way …
Tags: Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world