Entries Tagged as '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
November 6th, 2012 · Comments Off
The Home Depot parking lot in Nashua, NH — I turned my car in here to search for bumper stickers, figuring here if anywhere I would find Romney’s wheelhouse supporters, the male and the white. To my surprise, I saw not even one Romney sticker. Not one. Check these cars yourself, and I looked at quite a few more cars.
I saw one Obama sticker in this lot, just one, and no more. And as I continued up Rte 93 to my old home town Manchester, as I drove around Manchester, as I drove north again to Concord, NH, what I saw everywhere was no bumper stickers.
From the many “yard signs” (mostly not in people’s yards but on stretches of roadside) you might get the idea that NH is enthusiastic about this election. But what I am seeing is that people are mostly sick to death of being pestered by partisans and pollsters, just want this thing OVER.
I have seen more yard signs for Republicans by far, but a Vietnam veteran I met in Manchester (who was holding a big sign for Carol Shea Porter) told me his Obama yard signs just keep getting stolen.
Tags: New Hampshire! · politics · Wide wonderful world
October 30th, 2012 · Comments Off
Would you believe that I actually imagined that longtime GOP shill David Brooks aka (on Twitter) as @nytdavidbrooks was sincere in his many NYT columns expressing doubt about Mitt Romney, praise for Barack Obama?
Now, it happens that I am married to a certified (by the MacArthur Foundation and other folks) genius, who, when I expressed to him my fond hopes, argued that David Brooks would never endorse Barack Obama. All we were seeing, according to Frank Wilczek, was a momentary feint, a pretended diversion, from a GOP shill who would head back to show his true colors before the election. And boy was Frank right!
Well, duh Betsy, now that October is here, GOP’s concern trolls are opening raincoats, and what are we seeing? Could it possibly be that they are taking the path laid out by Karl Rove, pretending to be sadder but wiser previous Obama people?
Yes, that’s what we’re seeing.
In August: “Romney was a precocious and gifted child. He uttered his first words (“I like to fire people”) at age 14 months, made his first gaffe at 15 months and purchased his first nursery school at 24 months. The school, highly leveraged, went under, but Romney made 24 million Jujubes on the deal.”
In September: “Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater.”
In October:”if Romney wins, we’re more likely to get bipartisan reform… He has more influence over the most intransigent element in the Washington equation House Republicans. He’s more likely to get big stuff done.”
Tags: politics · Wide wonderful world
October 10th, 2012 · Comments Off
The woman who bought The Woman Who Died A Lot, a lot. That would be me. I had pre-ordered Jasper Fforde’s latest Thursday Next novel ages ago from Amazon.com. When I saw it was already out in an English edition, I quickly ordered it from Amazon.co.uk. I got home last night to find both editions had just been delivered. Hurray! Oh, whoops, was I supposed to be unpacking now?
Tags: England · funny · Wide wonderful world
October 6th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Back in 2005, Uppsala Castle hosted a gala physics dinner where two MIT physics professors, Frank Wilczek and Janet Conrad got into some jokey trash talk about the existence (or not) of Higgs particles. Years later, neither one could clearly remember all the details, but one scribbled notepad recorded details of a bet between Frank and Janet about when, whether, and at what energy, a Higgs particle would be found.
Frank bet Nobel chocolate medals, at 100 to 10 odds, that CERN would find a Higgs before the end of 2012 with a mass less than 150 geV. And in July 2012, ATLAS, CMS, and Fermilab all announced finding the same Higgs-like signature at about 125 geV. So Janet conceded and gave Frank his prize: 10 golden Nobel chocolates, at another lovely festive event at Uppsala Castle.
And I even got one of these pieces of chocolate for having suggested the second Uppsala Castle Higgs particle party, as recorded in this YouTube of Frank’s talk there.
Although Frank was dubious about this party idea, I sent email to Uppsala physicist Antti Niemi, asking if he didn’t think Uppsala might enjoy being part of the end of this story — and the rest was history, by which I mean hard work by Antti and by Uppsala University’s Tord Ekelof to bring this idea to fruition. A very good time was had by all the participants, including an audience of about 500 people who came to hear talks by Tord, Frank, Janet, and Fabiola Gianotti, the head of ATLAS at CERN.
Tags: Frank Wilczek · funny · Science · Wide wonderful world
September 25th, 2012 · Comments Off
Not far from our Copenhagen hotel is an open-air market, where some of the stalls have evolved into covered small food shops, including a bakery, Sweet Valentine.
I love the artfully artless thrown-on looking frosting of this wedding cake. Of course, such insouciantly slapdash visual effects can only be created by someone very skillful. Similarly, the tousled bedhead hair that looks amazing on young Julia Roberts probably took her hairdresser an hour to create — nor would the same look, even crafted by the same hairdresser, look expensively elegant if I were to go downtown wearing it.
Tags: food · funny · Wide wonderful world
September 23rd, 2012 · Comments Off
Lost in time, lost in space, lost in family matters? It seems strange to me that I found it much easier to keep this blog going when my life was complexified by way too much travel and squeezed by too many commitments to varied big projects.
Now I am hoping to have more time to be just plain myself, still fully a part of a wonderful family, but with more time, space, and brainspace to reinvent even more Betsys than I’ve already imagined.
Tags: Metablogging · My Back Pages · Wide wonderful world