Friday, May 24, 2013

Libraries - Random thoughts

When I was a child, I was an avid reader and went to the local public library in town.  I never realized until years later it was an Andrew Carnegie library.  Thank you Mr Carnegie.

Gradually I read more magazines, and less and less books.  Then the Kindle was invented, and my reading picked up a notch.

I love the concept of a free, communal library, but its reason for being has dwindled.  I have not been to a public library for maybe 20 years.

And to hasten the downfall of Communism, I left Animal Farm in China in 1985.  The last time I checked it was having no effect.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ancestry.com (The unabridged version)


ancestry.com has a great business model.  The subscribers build the database, and once it reaches critical size, new subscribers have a reasonable chance of finding their great grandparents as they are someone else's great grandparents too.  For each generation back, there is double the number of people.

A person 3000 years ago is likely to be the common ancestor of all 7 billion of us.  But not not all people living 3000 years ago are common ancestors; some bloodlines died out.

On the far end of the scale, life started on this planet maybe 3.6 billion BCE, the ancestor to all bacteria, plants, and animals.

Your cat or dog and yourself have a common ancestor around 200 million BCE.  Perhaps an ugly early mammal.

So pick your timescale. Is it ancestry.com or the new unabridged version which is more encompassing, but less complete, beta.ancestry.com








Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where Do We Go Now?

A curious and enchanting movie, well worth watching, from 2011.  Filmed in Lebanon, about a small isolated town with a mixed Muslim and Christian population, and how the women, the village imam and priest, attempted to control the men.

The men are problem children and see evil in each other, and the women think outside the box and come up with inventive measures to prevent bloodshed.

I am not giving the end away, but the phrase "Where Do We Go Now?" is used in the final scene..... 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spamalot

An entertaining musical that delivered.  No redeeming value, wonderfully politically incorrect, unabashedly
played for laughs. A vaudeville production.

As a local touch, in the scene where the knight lay dying flat on his back with a dagger sticking out, he looks up.  "There are stars," he says in awe, "Of course, this is the Theater under the Stars!"  And then he starts quietly singing to himself, "The stars at night are shining bright, DA DUM, deep in the heart of Texas."  And the audience loudly clapped the DA DUM on key.



Monday, May 13, 2013

Electricity divining

I was talking to a neighbor about running electric power lines underground from the garage to the shed.  The garage has a 60 amp supply from the house.

I said, "I did not know where the lines are underground."
He said, "The guy from BlueBonnet (the electric company) showed me how to find the line between my house and the barn.  He stripped two pieces of copper wire, about 15 inches long, bent a right angle for the last 3 inches to make two 'dousing sticks'.  He left them with me."
"Did he locate the underground wire?"
"Yes, he showed me where it is"
"Did you dig a hole to see if it was really there?"
"No"

I am a born skeptic, but experimentation is key.  Unlike water divining this has some, minimal, element of possibility.  I invited the neighbor over with the bent copper wire.

Saturday morning we walked slowly across the grass in the back garden of the yellow house.  This was not a double-blind test.  My neighbor held the wires loosely in his hands, and they crossed multiple times.  He observed positive readings.  I tried it and nothing happened.  Was he faking it?  I don't think so.

I marked the locations, and next weekend will dig them up carefully.  I wish he had found one positive reading not six.  Stay tuned.






Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Encounter in Walgreens

Last night I was standing in line in Walgreen's waiting to pay for some batteries.

The girl in front of me had a large tattoo on her shoulder.  I said, "Your tattoo looks Japanese."
"Yes, it is, very Anime.  The colors are good, and it doesn't fade as much"
"I wonder what it is about the graphic that makes it look Japanese? Maybe the face?"
"I think so."

She paid for her 12-pack of Dr Pepper, two packs of cigarettes, and chocolate bars.

"Have a good day." She smiled.
"Thank you, have a good evening," I said.