Archive for: February 2013

Sunday school anyone?

Little April was not the best student in Sunday school.

Usually she slept through the class.

One day the teacher called on her while she was napping, "Tell me, April, who created the universe?"

When April didn't stir, little Johnny, a boy seated in the chair behind her, took a pin and jabbed her in the rear. "GOD ALMIGHTY!" shouted April and the teacher said, "Very good" and April fell back asleep.

A while later the teacher asked April, "Who is our Lord and Savior," But, April didn't even stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to the rescue and stuck her again. 'JESUS CHRIST!" shouted April and the teacher said, "very good," and April fell back to sleep.

Then the teacher asked April a third question. "What did Eve say to Adam after she had her twenty-third child?" And again, Johnny jabbed her with the pin. This time April jumped up and shouted, "IF YOU STICK THAT FUCKING THING IN ME ONE MORE TIME, I'LL BREAK IT IN HALF AND STICK IT UP YOUR ARSE!"


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Over Fifty and Scared of Technology

ready-featuredComputers and technology have come a long way the last few years. People are wondering, and asking the question, "Are we ready for this?" For example, the computer built by IBM which was named Watson, and competed against humans on the TV show Jeopardy, has had its performance abilities increased by 240 percent, and is now being used to help diagnose and treat lung cancer and to help manage health insurance decisions and claims.

It's been fed 1500 lung patient studies and 2 million pages of text from journals, textbooks and treatment guidelines. Doctors can plug in the data using a computer of a specific case, and the computer will analyze it and suggest what treatment is most like to be successful for the patient. Of course, the article from the CTV website is quick to point out, that the computer is not making a decision on the patients' treatment -- just saving the doctors a lot of leg-work. Are we supposed to accept this as the truth?

Another article from The Wall Street Journal, Letting the Machines Decide, is using artificial intelligence to help decide stock market investments. Again, they say the machine doesn't make decisions, just suggestions. Every morning it recommends a list of stocks to buy or sell.

being-human-ebookIn 2008, Microsoft Research published Being Human: Human-Computer Interaction in the year 2020, and it's about Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and how it should be in the year 2020. It asks, " What will our world be like in 2020? Digital technologies will continue to proliferate, enabling ever more ways of changing how we live. But will such developments improve the quality of life, empower us, and make us feel safer, happier and more connected? Or will living with technology make it more tiresome, frustrating, angstridden, and security-driven? What will it mean to be human when everything we do is supported or augmented by technology?"

Much of the book talks about how technology needs to be developed by keeping human values in the forefront of new products. But I'm not sure this is the case. For example, a new law that allows driverless cars on California roads. How would you feel, if the school bus picking up your grandchildren to take them to school, didn't have a driver. Microsoft's book says, " These developments raise fundamental questions about how we should live with them [computers], what our relationships should be, together with larger social and ethical issues of responsibility and accountability." Granted the idea behind driverless vehicles is to make the roads safer. Apparently the reaction speed of the driverless car can be as small as 40 milliseconds, while human beings will take at least 500 milliseconds. And... of course they are eliminating human conditions such as fatigue or distraction -- which they say is the blame of most accidents. But if the bus crashes, who do we hold accountable?

What about discipline on the bus?

That's what drones are for! Most people see drones as a controversial weapon prowling over foreign battlegrounds. But as America's military campaigns wind down, these machines are coming home and set to change civilian lives forever. We have all heard the United States government has made hundreds of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2004 using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division. But drones are set to be employed at home, on a smaller scale, and for various purposes. There isn't any reason why these couldn't be on a school bus and programmed to intervene if the children should become unruly. Drones are becoming accessible to the general public, and in another couple of years, they expect there will be thousands of them in the air. Watch the video below to learn more about it.

If you watched the video, you will see how the theme of non-violence is promoted; similar sentiments prevail in "Being Human"  -- but it isn't convincing enough. There are a couple of comments in the video that imply the same technology could be used against us, by people less ethical. Perhaps even by countries who are tired of having the United States impose their will upon them.

And what happens then?

US Drone Strike statistic based on research by a team of journalists of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

(As of 10 January 2013)

  • Total strikes: 362
  • Total reported killed: 2,629 – 3,461
  • Civilians reported killed: 475 – 891
  • Children reported killed: 176
  • Total reported injured: 1,267 – 1,431

Moore's law is the observation that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. The period often quoted as "18 months" is due to Intel executive David House, who predicted that period for a doubling in chip performance (being a combination of the effect of more transistors and their being faster)

Although Moore's law was initially made in the form of an observation and forecast, the more widely it became accepted, the more it served as a goal for an entire industry. This drove both marketing and engineering departments of semiconductor manufacturers to focus enormous energy aiming for the specified increase in processing power that it was presumed one or more of their competitors would soon actually attain. In this regard, it can be viewed as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If it really is a self-fulfilling prophecy, could the video clip below become our new reality?

Some might say the above video clip is nothing more than fantasy. But there are countries racing right now to build the most life-like android, and if you take into account Moore's law, we are pretty close to it right now. What do you think would be a good guess? Fifteen years? Twenty? Fantasy can become reality. If you look at the 1966 television series, Star Trek --  scientists have pushed to develop some of the technologies portrayed in that show.

Two days ago, Canadian actor William Shatner, best known as Star Trek's Captain Kirk, hailed the International Space Station and chatted with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield about the risks faced in space and rumours that Hadfield has volunteered to go to Mars.

The Huffington Post, in a recent article said:

An image posted by Nasa on 30 January and taken with the right Mastcam on Curiosity shows what appears to be a 0.5cm metal spoke protruding out of a rock.

The strange sight - which looks a bit like a robotic arm - was noticed by imaging editor Elisabetta Bonora from Italy.

Technology is developing at such a rapid speed, one can't help but wonder if we're ready for this. It would seem that some of those behind these developments missed reading Being Human, and although it might be a little out-dated now, I think the concepts presented in the book are fundamentally sound. If you have children working in the field technology advancements, you could share this free pdf book with them. We want to make sure the future is about people, not machines or computers. They are only tools to assist us.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments below.


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John didn’t eat the sprinkles

John says he didn't eat the sprinkles. His mother says, "He has an amazing imagination and loves to tell us stories. I saw this as a sweet moment, something that every child goes through...where they try to push the boundaries to see how far they can go. And I thought I'd share it with my friends and family. And apparently, the world seems to enjoy it, too. We are currently working on the difference, and he is doing really well." :)

It's hard to know who to believe. His mother thinks he's guilty, but he wasn't seen eating them.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments below.


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The History of the Eagles

Who, over fifty, did not grow up and listen to the Eagles? You don't have to answer that question. We all listened to the Eagles. In the '70's they dominated the charts, along with, the Stones, Rod Stewart, Peter Frampton, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Grand Funk and many more.

There is an upcoming behind the scenes documentary on The History of The Eagles (Story of an American Band), and the show will be broadcast live on Showtime (US)

Part 1: Friday 2/15/13
Part 2: Saturday 2/15/13

Watch a trailer for the show below.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments below.


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Over Fifty and Taking Control

ron-featuredMany people over fifty are taking control of their own lives these days, but others are having a problem with it. If you have made a lifestyle choice that you're going to spend the next 50+ alone, then to some degree you've already started to take control. But, this is only one aspect of your life. There are other issues you may need to look at as well before you have complete control.

If you are recently divorced, or lost your life partner, lost your job, having money problems, have become indecisive -- these are all things that need to be addressed. Of course, it's entirely possible that there are going to be circumstances you can't control, but you can control how you choose to react to them.

It can take time to get over circumstances surrounding relationship difficulties. We all understand this. Part of the path to recovery is accepting this and giving yourself the time. There isn't a given, for the amount of time required. We are all different; it takes as long as it takes. Still, if you can shift your focus to other things you can control, it's possible the loss or hurt won't control your life. It's so sad when this happens to someone.

So where do you start?

control-ebookRonald Haines, author of I am Taking Control: Healthy Aging and Financial Security for Baby Boomers feels that by concentrating on our aging and money issues, that we can use this as a foundation. He says, "With retirement age bearing down on us it’s imperative for us baby boomers to take control of our own health and wealth now to ensure the next thirty to forty years or more truly are our best. The great news is that you can easily get to your ideal weight without some crazy diet and you don’t need millions of dollars socked away to live the life you want. The boomer generation has always rejected the established ways of doing things and if you’ve found yourself scratching your head about what is considered conventional wisdom, you’re already on the right track. Baby boomer retirement is going to be different, but it is going to be up to us as individuals to make it happen. Take control now and be as fit, active and carefree as you want while thoroughly enjoying the best time of your life on your own terms."

And we can really make it the best time of our lives. People fifty and over are often working less and playing more. But unless you are taking care of yourself, you will feel less like enjoying these years. That is defeating the whole purpose of getting to this age. Watch Ronald below as he talks about aging.

Of course, if you're going to live longer, as most of us boomers do these days, you need to make sure you're managing financially too. Ronald says he isn't rich, he's just an average guy like you or me. And his book I am taking Control offers some great tips on how you can make sure you have enough money to last you for the next 50+ years.

His book offers some great financial tips, that could be implemented by anyone, and it offers suggestions on how you may be able to supplement your income, should you need to.

I think everyone over fifty should read this book. And it won't cost you a cent to have a look at it if you get it today.  The Kindle version is being offered for free for the next 24-48 hours as an Amazon promotion, so download it now and read  "The Taking Control To Do List" that will start preparing you today for the next 50+ years.

If you don’t want to miss any of these posts: on the right-hand side of the blog is a place where you can enter your email address, and I’ll send you any new posts by email. You’re not going to get spammed — I respect your privacy. All you will get is the new posts only. Note: any posts that contain video or other website technologies won’t be available in the email version of the posts.

You’re also welcome to share your comments below.


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