Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Weekly Bits and Pieces - 27 Nov 2013

I have a story, but I'll save it...
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA. Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends, to everyone celebrating the holiday, and to everyone in the world. I'm thankful for all the good people I know, the good times I've shared with others and the quiet times with my God.

Oh, and for Turkey dinner. Sorry, Turkey.

Friday is Native American Heritage Day. That's a mouthful, but here are some pictures from the early 1900s of Native Americans. All of them were taken by Edward S. Curtis.
Some Native Americans say Thanksgiving reminds them of the genocide of the Native Americans. Actually, it was one of the first recorded times when the Native Americans and settlers worked together for mutual benefit. What ravaged the entire Native American culture, even before the colonizing of the country, was disease. The fantastic book 1491 by Charles C. Mann delves into the Americas before the coming of the Europeans and how the populous and integrated society was devastated by plagues.

I'm thankful I don't do any shopping over the Thanksgiving holiday. I do still read the sales sheets, though. PC Magazine lists the top ten tech toys at Best Buy.  They also list their favorites of the top ten tech deals at Target. I really might go get an iPad mini since Target is tossing in a $75 gift card. How nice. It isn't the newest mini, though, so I probably won't. I just like pretend shop on Black Friday. You know how it goes: "I should buy that. And that. And that. The turkey made me tired. I'm going to take a nap now."

Even Apple has some Black Friday deals, which astounds me.  That's a first, to the best of my knowledge.
And, of course, Amazon has Black Friday deals all week, including today.

Catching Fire did well at the box office last weekend - very well. And it should have. I won't write a review, but the bottom line is that it's worth seeing. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. If you read the books, like we did, you'll wonder how they can possibly manage to convey the PTSD of Katniss on the big screen. Jennifer Lawrence nails it. If you're a fan, it's a must-see at the theaters. I'd give it a 7.5/10 (but I'm a hard grader).

If you've read my blogs, you know I'm a big fan of Doctor Who and have been for decades. I love the reboot. With the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who they did a mental reboot as well. The Fiftieth was excellent; that's all I'll say. I watched it twice. I'll probably watch it again. It wasn't a continuation of the season finale, though. I'll have to wait for that.

Tech Crunch is keeping an eye on Bitcoins so I don't have to. Thanks folks! I'm glad they're watching Bitcoins, because the Bitcoin exchanges are getting robbed. That's probably the biggest problem I see with the online currency. There's a world of smart software people out there.

Forty-two bodies were found in a mass grave outside the town of La Barca in Jalisco, Mexico. Many have bullet wounds and show signs of torture. There is so much violence in the world.

Pope Francis is not taking the quiet road. He's encouraging the Catholic Church to change, to be "bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security." I like this Pope!
He tells the rich that it is time to share the wealth, that the gap between rich and poor is a blight in our world. Most of the truly wealthy people I know worked hard for their wealth - and they share it liberally.

Our legal system usually works. I choose to believe that. Then I read stories like the one about Kalief Browder who spent three years in Rikers for a robbery he didn't commit. I don't normally believe in lawsuits, but there needs to be some accountability for this miscarriage of justice (that's the first time I wrote those words, ever). Money is how it's measured. 

The FDA is telling 23andme to quit selling their genetic testing kits. They are concerned that people will use the information to make life-altering health decisions. Really? From the results of spitting in a tube? Well, I guess that's not such a stretch from peeing in a bottle…

The NSA has infected over 50,000 computers with sleeper agents, or bots. Perhaps even your machine is infected with code that simply awaits commands from the NSA to spy on us. Hey, maybe my machine is infecte...
The NSA wants only good things for everyone in the world. Trust the NSA. (For the record, that's a joke.)
The NSA apparently also spied on porn habits. I can just see that conversation at headquarters. "Hey, Bill, come look at what this guy is watching!"

A mile under the Chesapeake Bay floor, scientists found ancient seawater - about 100 million year old water. I have no idea what they plan to do with it. Bottle it? Pollute it?
Archaeologists did it again. They stuck a shovel in the dirt in Israel and unearthed another ancient structure. This time it was a 10,000 year old house and a 6.000 year old temple.

Comet Ison is gaining lots of attention from astronomers, professional and otherwise. Sadly, it may be disintegrating so fast it might not make it to the sun on November 28th (tomorrow, folks!). This series of photos shows the comet Ison approaching the sun. Here's the question: what's taking the photos?

I think Arduino is one of the coolest DIY programming modules out there, even though I don't do any Arduino project. Still, this Kickstarter project is sort of the One-Ring-That-Rules-Them-All for Arduino shields, or special-purpose project boards. Shoot, I even had to go back them. Brilliant!
Another Kickstarter entrepreneur was looking for $25,000 to develop an Arduino-based toy that teaches programming logic to children. He raised more than $630,000!
Here are some cool Arduino projects, including a laser harp. Here's a comic that explains what Arduino is. Yes, Raspberry Pi is cool, too.
Laser harp!

I don't know if this matters, but the Google Play Edition of the Samsung Galaxy S4 is getting the Android 4.4 KitKat OTA Update. Okay, I don't even know what all that means. Darling has an S4. Do I have to do something? Never mind. It doesn't matter.

From the world of strange creatures, this is another. It's actually a creature that looks like a rock. It lives in the ocean. I'm rethinking going barefoot when I swim.
Honestly, I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't find odd creature pictures for the blog.
Well, yes I do. I'd find prettier pictures.

And, finally, here are the answers to all those tech questions the family asks at Thanksgiving. Thanks Wired!

Thanks for reading and God bless you all!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Vince!
    That certainly was...varied. I admit it's the first one I've looked at! Interesting for sure...especially the creepy bleeding critter at the end. =(

    Sure hope to see you at the shows this week...check for details!