Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wednesday Weekly Bits and Pieces - 06 Nov 2013


CNN listed five things we learned from yesterday's elections. I'm glad we're learning something. I wish the politicians would.
I'm going to paraphrase the five points, though.
1. Elections are bought. The more money, the more votes. Like we didn't know that.
2. The Affordable Health Care Act is hated more every week, regardless of political party. Change is hard.
3. Chris Christie is probably aiming for the White House. And he's the best the GOP has to offer right now. That's what they're saying, not what I'm saying.
4. New York wants change. We all want change - that's me saying that. Half of the USA voted for change. The problem is we want positive changes for everyone. Shangri-La, anyone?
5. The Tea Party lost in Alabama. I suspect it won't be the last time, and I like some of what they say. I try to always find something nice…
There, now you only need to read the article to see how snarky I was about the five points.


Well, I mentioned the Affordable Health Care Act, so let's go with that. It does seem to be an Act, and we are all the players. There are current points of contention, with four of them pointed out in this CNN article.

"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period." Obviously Mr. Obama was only referring to the individually owned plans. For instance, even though I work with a large corporation and select a health care plan through what they offer, the provider I used for the last sixteen years is no longer available as an option. Was that a casualty of Obamacare? I don't know. Does it matter? I have to choose something else. I'd like to keep the Doctor I've had for sixteen years, but we'll see what happens. I'm not blaming it on Obamacare (well, not directly - my Doctor had a different opinion).
Everyone's health insurance costs will rise because of Obamacare.  Well, some will and some won't. We all share the overall cost burden. More will rise if people opt out and pay the penalty. People will opt out if the cost gets too high. Does anyone else see a systemic failure here?
"The web site is broken, so Obamacare is a failure." Oh, please, people. Nobody likes version 1 of any piece of software. We all wait for version 3 before buying it. Really, how many of you bought the first Windows? Or even knew it existed when it came out? In the case of Obamacare, we don't get a choice. We buy it because we must and we all become beta testers.
That's life.


History is clear that the Nazi regime stole art and hid it or destroyed it. The German government found some hidden art a few years ago and are now letting everyone know. CNN talks about it here, and the NY Times here. I don't like any of the pieces they showed, but I'm a classical art lover, not modernist or post-modernist. Yeah, I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. I'll go back to looking at cat pictures on the web.

Speaking of cats, Dell finally found the source of the cat pee smell in their laptops, after four months of research. They aren't telling, but they do offer replacement parts now. I'm guessing those are cat-free (or cat-pee-free, I suppose).

I love this article about a virus that essentially owns the infected machines - and it can infect machines that are isolated. It's a real-world mystery thriller about a high-frequency rootkit.

You know all those comics you stored away and expect to sell so you can fund the purchase of your tropical island getaway? It probably isn't going to happen. Prices for used comics are plummeting.

I loved this article on how to get an A- in chemistry. I don't think it's quite this simple, but it's a good read. Organic (they call it organo) was one of my most-hated, most-loved classes. Hard, but rewarding. And I don't recall any of it after thirty-five years.

Africa is actually making great strides in the technological world. I was pleased to see a young Rwandan woman get an award for her startup company HeHe.  They are based in Kigali, capital of Rwanda. We stayed there during part of our mission trip years ago.

Fox has an article titled "How to erase yourself from the Internet." Lately I've been tempted to simply erase myself and disappear, so I took a look. It's nonsense, sadly. They simply advocate erasing your access to input sites like Facebook and Twitter. Your information will still be out there in cyberspace. Don't bother reading the article, but if you must, here it is.

I used to love the Seven Habits series of books by Stephen Covey. The man was a genius, mostly in marketing.  The Fool has a good article on the 7 Simple Habits of the World's Best Investors. Want me to sum up? Read. Be humble. Fail. Build on the success of others. Be your best self. Be patient. Be decisive.
Sounds like the advice would work for more than simply investments…

Since we're on the number seven, here are seven quotes that people often attribute to the wrong speaker. I know I was wrong on all of them. 
And the picture of Marilyn Monroe is nice too.

As a futurist I love to see predictions and love it even more when they call them trends. Here are seven top trends for future technology, according to Forbes. I don't agree with all of them. For instance, I don't think smart watches will make it, unless they do something along the lines of the suggestions I provided in a previous post. Still, we'll know in about a year…
I might reconsider my smartwatch opinion when this Pebble app comes out though. This one is useful.

These guys made a nanotube computer. Nanotubes are so small that thousands can fit in inside a human hair. We won't see these computers in the next year, but this is an interesting trend.

Toyota is a pretty innovative company. They created a vehicle that you bond with like a horse. I don't even know that that means, but I'd rather have the horse.

I don't expect horses in the next Hunger Games, but I'm looking forward to Catching Fire. Here's an article on designing the costumes.

 
Here's the weird category for the week. Ten fun facts about Caecilians. They look like worms to me and the facts are fun, but a bit creepy.


Our garden grew bounteous and green this year - although we only had a decent crop of cucumbers. Toward the end of summer our luffa vine decided to take over part of the back yard. We harvested the first of the large luffas last Saturday. Here's me peeling off the skin of the luffa fruit.


Thanks for reading. Have a blessed week!



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