Browsing All Posts filed under »Technology«

Lauriate Roly Remembers: The Magic Violin

December 12, 2016

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By Lauriate Roly There’s a lovely church in front of my house. Mountainview is a tiny hamlet.  There are only five houses, five mailboxes, a lonely and hidden cemetery and a beautiful old fashioned style church that never sees a soul enter there except on very special days, such as Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or, […]

What Does Electronic Data Have in Common With the Burning of the Library at Alexandria?

November 28, 2016

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The ancient library of Alexandria, Egypt, was charged with collecting the knowledge of the whole world, such as it was in those days.  When Julius Caesar accidentally burned the library during the siege of Alexandria in 48 BC, tens of thousands of volumes went up with it… one of the bigger “oops” moments in history, […]

A Personal Story From Joan Larsen: Remembering Steve Jobs

September 28, 2016

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By Joan Larsen Moments in life – usually small moments, totally unexpected – are the ones remembered forever.  It was the very late 1970s, at a gathering in one of the beautiful small villages that dot the gorgeous peninsula running south from San Francisco to San Jose, that I met Steve Jobs.  The name then […]

No, We Are NOT All Getting Taller or Growing Bigger Feet

September 19, 2016

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Hey manufacturers: remember that there are plenty of us still around who haven’t grown much in the last several decades. Lila is a mere five feet tall with size 5 feet, a situation that has not changed since… oh, probably about age 13 or so. So when headlines trumpet that we are getting taller, or […]

The Gritmobile: My Dad’s Toyota SR-5 Turns to Treasure

July 18, 2016

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Keep something around long enough, and magic can happen. Way back in 1983, my sixty-something-year-old Dad casually announced that he would be trading in his somewhat plain gray sedan and getting, for the first and only time in his life, a pickup truck. “Whatever for?” I wondered. “I just like it. Something different,” said Dad. […]

If You’re Uploaded to a Cyber-Existence, Are You Still You?

June 27, 2016

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Ever since seeing the transporter on the original Star Trek, I have wondered:  if your molecules are disassembled here and an exact copy of you is reconstructed somewhere else out of other molecules, are you really still you?  I have my doubts, enough that should teleportation ever become feasible, I don’t think I’d have the […]

Planespotting in an Electronic Age

May 9, 2016

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People also laughed fifty years ago when they were told someone would fly over Berlin.  I remember the excitement in the year 1910 when Count Zeppelin first came to Berlin, and now the Berliners scarcely look up when something sails through the air.  Besides the giant airplanes and the planes for fighter pilots, there are […]

Amy Berman, Thriving for More Than 5 Years With Terminal Cancer

February 22, 2016

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It has been more than five years since Amy Berman was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, which is always fatal.  Even with aggressive treatment, only 11%-20% of patients make it as far as she has.  But Amy did not opt for aggressive treatment; quite the opposite.   As she wrote just this past November, “… […]

Beware the Machine-Compiled Dictionary

February 1, 2016

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Yes, I am talking about YOU, Dictionary.com! Language is a tricky thing.  Some years ago, I stood in a bookstore alongside my Russian friend.  We spotted some pretty well-respected brand-name dictionaries of slang and idioms for the Russian language.  As a student of the language, I was immediately interested.  I pulled on off the shelf, […]

‘Tis the Season to Rip the Phone Off the Wall

December 28, 2015

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Beware of the Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone, or Why There Should Be No Exemptions to the Do Not Call List. Now here we are in the Season of Giving. People’s hearts and wallets are open, so of course charities come a-calling. And this is where Lila gets really annoyed with the fact that the Do […]

No, Gun Violence is Not the Fault of Gun Manufacturers

October 12, 2015

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Here we go again: some loser commits a high-profile crime that goes viral in the media, and then we have the predictable calls for gun control… some of it sensible, some, well… less so. My current peeve is with those who want to blame gun manufacturers for the actions of criminals who use guns in […]

Joan Larsen’s Life Stories: Love is in the Air – Aloft in the Goodyear Blimp

September 30, 2015

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By Joan Larsen   The latest news: the fabled Goodyear blimps are retiring after being in the skies for the lifetime of everyone reading this. With its fleet so near the end of its life-cycle, Goodyear and Zeppelin have again worked together in the next evolution of airship design. I have been to Akron and […]

The Paternoster Elevator: You’ll Never See This in the US

August 31, 2015

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This recent article about Germany’s paternoster elevators brought back a lot of memories! It seems that the German government was pushing to shut down the few remaining paternosters as a safety hazard (and as you read on, you may agree with them!), but German citizens pushed back just as hard to save the quirky elevators, […]

“The Eagle Has Landed.” The 46th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

July 20, 2015

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Lila remembers it, but was roundly unimpressed at the time. In my memory, the first moon landing is inextricably linked to my mother’s death. She died suddenly on 13 July 1969, while we were living abroad in South America. Three days later, on 16 July, the astronauts launched. I think I was aware of it; […]

How to Boost Clothing Sales: Block Cell Signals in the Fitting Rooms

June 1, 2015

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How much revenue is lost to the Selfish Selfie? The other day, I enjoyed a rare stroke of good fortune in the jeans department: my size, the elusive 6P, was in stock! Still, jeans are something you really need to try on before buying, so I grabbed a pair and headed to the fitting rooms. […]

A Wasted Organ Transplant: Why Patients’ Social History and Potential SHOULD Matter

May 11, 2015

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If you were faced with 100 dying people, and could only save 79 of them, how would you choose? Back in 2012, 15-year-old Anthony Stokes was denied a lifesaving heart transplant. Doctors ruled him a bad candidate because of a “history of noncompliance,” meaning he was unlikely to follow doctors’ orders concerning medications and follow-up […]

Tax Day Cometh, and I’m Not Using TurboTax Again

April 13, 2015

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It’s kind of great, but too scary for me Lila is a big fan of the stubby-pencil method for doing taxes. I download all the necessary forms and instructions from the IRS website, I read the instructions and do my own math (even though math and I don’t get along well). In a good year, […]

Tesla’s Autopilot: Don’t Lie. It’s Not for the Alert, It’s for the Distracted.

March 23, 2015

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Nobody is going to watch like a hawk as their car does all the driving.   Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla would offer a self-driving electric car by this summer. According to him, a software update will allow drivers to cede control to the “autopilot” mode, at least on major highways. […]

Lila in the Land of the Giants

March 16, 2015

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What if pickle jars came with lids that were 8″ in diameter? What if countertops were four feet high? What if chairs and toilets were three feet high? What if leaf-blower handles were as big around as mayonnaise jars, or steps were a standard 12″ high? Welcome to my world.   It has been noted […]

So Dogs Have Bad Short-Term Memory? It’s Better Than Yours.

March 9, 2015

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A Swedish study making the rounds in the news this week allegedly notes that many animals have “terrible short-term memories.” Guess what? It’s better than ours. Somehow, the media picked up a University of Stockholm study and concluded that animals are dolts who never remember much of anything. The public is deluged with such moronic […]

10-4, Driver: CB Radios Still Have Their Uses

February 9, 2015

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Many years ago, when cell phones were still as big as your head and probably cost as much as your car, my husband and I were reassigned from one coast of the US to the other coast.  We decided to drive our two vehicles in our own mini-convoy, and bought two CB radios for this […]

Consumer Electronics 2015: Beyond Distraction, Making Drivers Blind and Stupid

January 16, 2015

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Last weekend, the Consumer Electronics Show rolled out more examples of jet-fighter-style heads-up displays (HUDs) for car windshields. Fittingly, perhaps, last weekend also saw a nearly 200-car pileup in both directions of I-94 in Michigan. HUDs are sexy, glitzy, futuristic, badass. Marketers compare the automotive versions to the displays jet fighter pilots have. Advocates claim […]

Apple Is Losing Its Edge, and Here’s Why

January 9, 2015

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It’s not just the issues of battery life or questions over just how much storage their devices really have. The main issue is whether users find the devices useful and functional for their own purposes.  Hubby’s verdict:  Not any more.   By now we’ve probably all heard the news that Apple is facing a class-action […]

Pondering Things Beyond the Earth

December 29, 2014

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It’s Lila’s last post of 2014… time for a little pondering about big things beyond the Earth (mainly because we are probably all pretty tired of hearing about all the human-inflicted calamities on our little planet this year). The news this year has been full of all kinds of space-related stuff: humanity has managed to […]

Before You Buy a Drone For Christmas… You May Need a Pilot’s License

December 1, 2014

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Once again, the ignorant and the reckless ruin everyone’s fun.   Last spring at my Dad’s old house, I looked out to see someone poking around suspiciously on the road in front of the house. I’m not shy; I went to investigate. It was a real estate photographer, hired by the neighbor to shoot aerial […]

Death to the Clamshell! I Long For The Simple Cardboard Box

November 14, 2014

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Hubby: “I’d like to find the guy who invented this crap and punch him in the face. If he was here I’d be like, ‘Oh, was this your idea? Come here so I can punch you in the face.'” Hubby is usually a pretty easy-going guy, and generally reserves such outbursts of violent fantasy for […]

It’s Past Time to Get Off the Fossil Fuels: You Can’t Drink Oil

October 13, 2014

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Here’s how Lila knows we are doomed as a species: there’s hardly any water left in California, and we’re letting Big Oil ruin it by fracking. News flash: you can’t eat dollars or drink oil. Lila’s undergraduate degree is in Geology. Decades ago, we predicted that economically accessible oil supplies would run out by the […]

Time to Make Scientific Education Standards a Priority… Starting with Us

September 22, 2014

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Our huge, inter-connected population and the globalization of economies means that today, intelligence without education is outright harmful.   The human mind looks for patterns, and in the absence of education or scientific thought processes, the mind will see patterns and meanings that just aren’t there. Conversely, without education, the mind grasps little of what […]

No, We Are NOT All Getting Taller or Growing Bigger Feet

September 1, 2014

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Hey manufacturers: remember that there are plenty of us still around who haven’t grown much in the last several decades. Lila is a mere five feet tall with size 5 feet, a situation that has not changed since… oh, probably about age 13 or so. So when headlines trumpet that we are getting taller, or […]

Moving Hiatus! Meanwhile, Back to… If You Are Pro-Life, Then You Are Anti-IVF

August 29, 2014

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All, one more look back at a Lila-Encore!  Lila and Hubby are still unpacking and unboxing, and the new house is finally starting to look more like a house and less like a hurricane-mauled refugee camp.  Lila’s computer is up and running so I will soon be back to blogging! Meanwhile, here’s a look back […]

Another Reason to Oppose Fertility Treatments

August 4, 2014

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What if you could have several children, pick out your favorite, and throw the others away?  Now you can! In general, Lila is not a fan of fertility treatments. First of all, there is the population issue:  extinction from lack of people is pretty unlikely; on the other hand, a population collapse may very well […]