Thursday, May 10, 2012

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Life moves fast. Don't miss a thing.

You gotta go full screen with this. She has the most amazing smile.

UPDATE: Video doesn't play anymore. It now says it's a private video.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple Investigates Own Supply Chain - Finds Abuses

This is regarding the article in UK's Telegraph -

Apple investigated its own supply chain and found numerous abuses. More than half of the factories audited force workers perform 60+ hour work weeks. 35% shortchanged their workers on salary and benefits some even employed child labor. Worker Safety and Environmental regulation compliance was equally abysmal.

Kudos for Apple for doing this. However, I find one thing telling and another I find disturbing.

The simple reason that the things we buy are so cheap is that so many corners are cut. If this led all companies to inspect and demand, upon threat of termination, that all products be made in compliance with international labor laws then all the gadgets and junk the Western world lives for are gone. I would happily pay the premium for a few key gadgets, but would cut down overall.

The thing that I find disturbing is that this is unlikely to happen. Apple can threaten termination, because they will always find a factory willing to work with them. Palm, for example, does not have such leverage and makes me wonder the conditions which my Pre smartphone was manufactured under. Even if Apple makes perfectly good on correcting all of its supply chain's ills, very few companies will even attempt to make such corrections next to nil will succeed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Hate the Stock Market

The single reason stock prices matter is because the market says it does. If I ever find out who declared that the market should matter, I'll strangle their descendants.

My fortunately brief experience with the market was working for a Fidelity call center about ten years ago. After learning about the fraud that is the DOW, the absurdity of short selling, the inanity of trading options on indexes, and the general fickleness of the market I completely gave up on it.

There were days, after having access to very detailed, up-to-the-second quotes on any index or exchange you could possibly think of, that I would leave work completely ignorant of what the market did that day. Bliss.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse!

Voyager I, launched in 1977, is the fastest moving human-made craft. It is travelling so fast due to gravity assists from both Jupiter and Saturn.

VOYAGER I ( 2009 10 19)
17.082 km/s

x 60 seconds = 1024.92 km per minute

x 60 minutes = 61495.2 km per hour

x 24 = 1,475,884.8 km per day

x 365 = 538,697,952 km per year

Betelgeuse is a red, supergiant that is anticipated to go supernova at almost any moment.

640 light years ( accessed on 2009 10 19)

x 9,460,730,472,580.8 (light years in km)
6,054,867,502,451,712 km (6 quadrillion km)

So ...

6,054,867,502,451,712 km (6 quadrillion km)
÷ 538,697,952

11,239,819.048823322795925535651563 (11.2 million years)

So, if Voyager I were aimed towards Betelgeuse it would take more than 11 million years to get there.

Now let's say we have a different craft using a different propulsion system. I got these technologies and numbers from Wikipedia's Spacecraft Propulsion page (and I'm sure I don't understand most of it). Now let's choose a few of these technologies and see how much faster we can get to Betelgeuse.

100 km/s (Field Emission Electric Propulsion (FEEP))

x 60
6,000 km per minute

360,000 km per hour

8,640,000 km per day

3,153,600,000 km per year

Then ...

6,054,867,502,451,712 km (6 quadrillion km)
÷ 3,153,600,000 km per year

1,919,985.88992 (1.92 million years)

1,000 km/s (Bussard ramjet)

x 60 60,000 per minute
x 60 3,600,000 per hour
x 24 86,400,000 per day
x 365 31,536,000,000 per year

100,000 km/s (Antimatter Rocket)

x 60 6,000,000 per minute
x 60 360,000,000 per hour
x 24 8,640,000,000 per day
x 365 3,153,600,000,000 per year

Thusly ...

6,054,867,502,451,712 km (6 quadrillion km)
÷ 3,153,600,000,000

1,919.98588992 (less than two thousand years)

So, if we wanted to, if there were reason enough, we could get to Betelgeuse in less than two thousand years using technology that is expected in a reasonably acceptable amount of time.

Now, why should we care ... ?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Falcon's Fair

One day the Falcon saved former President Carter.

President Carter had come to Emersonville for the Annual Popcorn eating contest where the Falcon had been the grand champion for ten years running. Carter, a former peanut farmer, thought that peanuts were close enough to Popcorn to give him an advantage.

The contest began and towards the end, just as predicted by the ESPN sports entertainment analysts, it was the Falcon and Carter neck and neck. The Falcon, however, had a plan.

From the treetops of Emersonville's prize spruce tree came a screech. Frightened children ran for cover as Redwing, the Falcon's falcon, came swooping down toward Carter. The Secret Service agents, 20 years past their prime when they were assigned to the ex-president, couldn't respond fast enough. The bird was about to claw President Carter's eyes out ... but Carter had a plan.

Redwing heard no more than a hum as a spinning, red, white and blue shield smacked him up into the air and crashing down onto the plates being prepared for the parsley eating contest.

Captain America bounded onto the scene and retrieved his shield. He confronted the Falcon, who had snapped, reverting back into Snap Wilson, his former alter ego, that had been supressed by his Falcon persona, before he became Captain America's side kick, before his mother and father were killed in Harlem.

Meanwhile, President Carter hadn't lost a beat. He was almost to the bottom of his seventh bowl of popcorn and was already reaching for the butter and salt to season his last bowl.

The Falcon and Captain America were in a stare down, the hush broken only by Carter's choppers. Then Captain America's achilles' heel, his chronically dry eyes, got him again: he blinked.

The Falcon sprung through the air and tackled Captain America. They traded blows, rumbling through the Historical Plaid displays.

President Carter was just about to finish the final bowl of popcorn and break the Falcon's record when he started to choke. The Falcon, now controlled by his alter-alter-ego, Snap Wilson, stopped to chuckle at the old man and was hit broadside by Captain America's shield.

The Falcon kicked the shield out of Captain America's hands and it soared to the edge of the fair grounds where it fell onto and crushed the first daisy of spring, thus nullifying the entire festival. -- The first daisy of spring, as is well known, dictates where and when the festival should be held.

President Carter's face was turning blue, his Secret Service agents unable to remove the Heimlich-inator out of its vacuum-molded, plastic packaging. With the fair and the popcorn eating contest now invalidated, he was about to choke to death for nothing.

Captain America and the Falcon, unaware that they too now fought for naught, both raced to the shield. Captain America got to it first and kicked it towards the Falcon. The Falcon was unpreppared and braced himself for the impact when the Falcon's falcon, Redwing, flew in front of the shield, sacrificing his body and sending the shield back across the fair grounds.

President Carter stood up for one last gasp when Captain America's shield hit him in the back, making him throw up all the popcorn he had eaten.

Moved by the death of Redwing, the Falcon's falcon, Captain America put his hand on his former sidekick's shoulder. But the Falcon sucker-punched Captain America and took to the skies, declaring that he will get revenge on Captain America AND President Carter both ... when and where the next, new official daisy of spring blooms and the fair's eating contests are again held.