Play Ball!

Today is opening day for the Kansas City Royals. They will square off around 3pm against the LA Angels of Anaheim (when did they change their name?). Once upon a time baseball in this city used to be fun - George Brett was a rookie, Frank White won golden gloves and the Royals regularly made the playoffs.. they even one it all in 1985. Sadly the beloved team owner passed away and the CEO of Walmart bought the team and ran it into the ground.

But enough about that! Here's to opening day and dreams of playoff berths and world championships. Play Ball!

Google, Kansas

According to this article it looks like Kansas City, KS is Google's 1-Gig Fiber Winner. Congrats to the little city across the river. Wonder if I will be able to pick up free internet?

March 13, 2010: Topeka, the capital city of our state, officially changed it's name to Google in hopes of snagging some of that experimental high-speed fiber networking that Google is offering. The mayor of Duluth, MN jumped into a freezing Lake Superior last month.. Sarasota, FL changed it's name to Google Island..and I suspect others will find wild and crazy ways to lure Google to their cities.. it is big!

What is your city doing to chase after Google broadband?

We are NATO

Interesting how the American eagle and Lady Liberty's torch are featured in this old NATO postcard image. This morning the New York Post published a brief online piece titled
US cost of war $550M for 10 days. Here is the article in full:
The war in Libya has cost US taxpayers more than half a billion dollars so far, mainly for bombs, cruise missiles, and a crashed fighter jet, the Pentagon said yesterday. But the price tag should drop once NATO takes over leadership of Operation Odyssey Dawn as expected today. After that, officials expect to spend about $40 million a month, Cmdr. Kathleen Kesler, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said yesterday. The first 10 days of the campaign cost the Pentagon $550 million. A big chunk of that came from firing more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles, which cost between $1 million and $1.5 million a pop. The loss of an Air Force F-15E fighter jet added another $60 million.
It will be interesting to see if our involvement will be limited to the $1 million plus per day that the Pentagon officials are predicting. It will also be interesting to see if any other country will match or exceed that prediction. I doubt that they will because, after all, the USA is NATO.

Generosity Rules

This funny cartoon points out a strange phenomenon - people need rules to tell them how to be generous. I really don't want to debate the rules.. be they tithing or tipping.. I just want to say that being generous is not really about meting out a certain percentage. These things come when we live from our brains and not our hearts. My thinking is that it is better to live from a generous heart than a stingy mind.

Don't Call Me Four Eyes!

Can you imagine what life would be like if eyeglasses had never been invented? I have worn them for 30 years.. I even wore those huge aviator ones back in the 80s. My outdoor wedding pictures highlight the fact that I once wore photo-gray lenses.

I guess my thinking is don't call me four eyes - call me blessed.
Do you have any stories to share about wearing glasses?

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

"Rock Chalk, Jayhawk" is a chant used at the University of Kansas. US President Teddy Roosevelt once called it the greatest college chant he had ever heard.

I suspect that many in San Antonio, Kansas and all over the country will be yelling it this afternoon as the Jayhawks take on VCU in the Alamodome in their quest to The Final Four. I will be cheering them on. How about you?

Did Einstein really say that?

A few more bad predictions. I predict you will enjoy them.

1899: Everything that can be invented has been invented. [Charles Duell, US patent office]

1901: Man will not fly for 50 years. [Wilbur Wright]

1905: Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. [President Grover Cleveland]

1927: Who the hell wants to hear actors talk? [H. M. Warner]

1929: Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau. [Irving Fisher, economics professor at Yale University]

1932: There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will. [Albert Einstein]

1936: A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere. [New York Times]

1955: Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years. [Alex Lewyt]

1958: We will bury you. [Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev]

1965: By 1985 machines will be capable of doing any work Man can do. [Herbert A. Simon]

1968: With over fifteen types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn't likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself. [Business Week]

1977: There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home. [Ken Olson]

727 Fuselage Suite

If you have $500 hanging around you can spend a night in this hotel suite at the Hotel Costa Verde in Costa Rica. And if you wait until May the cost per night is a mere $250.

Check out there site for more information and awesome pictures.

Depressing Clichés for a Friday Morning

On her Beyond Blue blog Therese Borchard recently posted something titled 10 Things Not to Say to a Depressed Person. Here they are in brief:
  1. It’s all in your head. You need to think positive.
  2. You need to get out of yourself and give back to the community.
  3. Why don’t you try and exercise?
  4. Shop at Whole Foods and you will feel better.
  5. Meditation and yoga are all you need.
  6. Get a new job.
  7. Are you happy in your relationship?
  8. You have everything you need to get better.
  9. Do you WANT to feel better?
  10. Everyone has problems.
I suggest you click here to read the text that accompanies each of these clichés. To be sure, these are clichés and they are often uttered by well meaning friends and family members who really do not understand the nature of depression.

On a personal note I suffered for a long time with depression. It was so very difficult to face all of the sad things in my life. And then something happened fairly accidentally.. I found out that I was lacking an important hormone. I was shocked at how much better I felt after just a week or so on the hormone treatment. Send me an email if you want more info.

Have you struggled with depression? Can you resonate with the clichés above?

The Switch | ★★★★★★★

I liked this movie. The two main characters, played by Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, are interesting and the story (though a bit clichéd) is fairly engaging. I particularly liked the development of Bateman's character who is forced to go beyond himself as he is drawn into love.  Here is a quote from him that reflects a bit of his journey:
"Look at us, running around. Always rushed, always late. I guess that's why they call it the human race. What we crave most in this world is connection. For some people it happens at first sight. It's when you know you know. It's fate working its magic. And that's great for them. They get to live in a pop song. Ride the express train. But that's not the way it really works. For the rest of us, it's a bit less romantic. It's complicated, it's messy. It's about horrible timing, and fumbled opportunities. And not being able to say what you need to say when you need to say it. At least, that's the way it was for me."
I loved how flawed these characters are and how they stretched the definition of normal. I found the movie to be thoughtful and, on a scale of ten, I give this movie ★★★★★★★.

One Out of Eight lacks Safe Drinking Water

Ever since I was born I have never really known what it is like to lack the basic necessity of clean drinking water. Even when I traveled to remote parts of the Philippines I still had clean bottled water to drink. Consider this excerpt from the World Water Day website:
In contrast to easy access to taps and toilets across the United States, today much of the world faces a global safe drinking water and sanitation crisis. One out of every eight people lacks safe drinking water and two out of every five people lack adequate sanitation.

World Water Day is March 22. Recognized by the United Nations and the global community, World Water Day reminds us that much of the world still faces a global water and sanitation crisis, and that it is our urgent obligation to act. This year, a coalition of diverse US-based groups is calling for increased commitments by the US government and private citizens to reduce poverty, disease and hunger by helping to improve sustainable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation for many millions around the world.
My goal in sharing this today is to simply raise the awareness about this global crisis.

Going Nuclear

This is a map of the United States showing locations of operating nuclear power reactors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website. In the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan I thought that it might be interesting to see where these reactors were located. There are 65 plants across the country but each plant can have more than one reactor/triangle.

A few things on the map jump out at me. Almost all of the reactors are east of the Mississippi River. A boatload of them are close to water. Some of them seem to be in areas prone to hurricanes and earthquakes. All reactors are in the Continental United States. My home sits between the reactor in Kansas and the one in Missouri.

Anything else come to mind when you look at the map? Is a reactor close to your place?

BowWow Meow Insurance

My son shared a link to a Barefoot Investor article about pet insurance. Here are their recommendations concerning insurance for pets:
  1. Watch out for exclusions: Always read your policy carefully, and check to see what is excluded.
  2. Choose a high excess: As with all insurance policies, the higher excess you’re willing to pay, the lower the cost of the yearly premium.
  3. Only insure for things that can financially kill you: Make sure your policy covers claims for your pet being in an accident or falling ill. Pay for routine treatment out of your pocket.
Once upon a time I would have laughed at such insurance. But after seeing friends spend megabucks on surgeries for their pets I think that pet insurance might be a good option for some. My thinking is that one should consider such insurance if they are unwilling to allow their pets to die from cancers and other such diseases.

But personally I am not sure if I would buy such insurance. Would you?

Bacon Pizza

I am not a fan of Papa Murphy's Pizza but these ingredients (crispy bacon, canadian bacon, and pepper bacon) could be a bit of a game changer.

Not Many of You Should be Bloggers?

I read something recently in the online version of Christianity Today that caused me to smile. In an article titled Not Many of You Should Presume to Be Bloggers John Dyer, web development director at Dallas Theological Seminary, opines:
Throughout the history of public theological debate, there was one constant—those debates only took place between a few select people—Moses, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and so on—who gained respect through a lifetime of scholarship.
What few of us realize is that when we press those "Publish," "Post," "Comment," and "Send" buttons, we are making the shift away from merely "believing" truth and stepping into the arena of publishing that belief. In doing so we are effectively assuming a position of leadership and teaching that prior to 2004 was not available to us.
James warned us, "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1, NIV1984). James goes on to graphically portray the incredible power that our tongues have both to praise and to curse especially in the context of teaching.
Yet Facebook and Twitter do not encourage this kind of self-restraint. In fact, they encourage an opposing value system. Social media relentlessly asks us to publish our personal opinions on anything and everything that happens. There is no time for reflection in prayer, no place for discussion with other flesh and blood image bearers, and no incentive to remain silent.
My thinking on this is that these thoughts are commensurate with a person who works for a seminary. A few centuries ago a person of this ilk would have probably objected to the publishing of the bible for consumption by people who had not gained "respect through a lifetime of scholarship". Folks who work for seminaries seem to have missed the email telling them that non-clerics are often well read and educated in biblical matters. And they really do not understand the blessing that we receive when we exchange ideas in cyberspace.

For me, I have to say that interactions with other bloggers has helped me to be a bit more graceful and accepting of views that are different than mine. Even this week I have had two great dialogs with blogger friends about how God may or may not have been involved in the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. These discussions are so helpful and enlightening. I feel like the Holy Spirit uses cyber-friends like this to teach me.

Maybe that is the message that folks who work for seminaries miss.. the idea that the Holy Spirit teaches.. the idea that we should not substitute the theological thinkings of Moses, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas for those that come by the Holy Spirit through ordinary people who have not gained "respect through a lifetime of scholarship". I mean really.. we need to be less impressed with theologians and more impressed with God.

What is your thinking? Have you found it helpful to discuss issues like this online?

Irish Japan

Like other cities we in Kansas City have a great St Patrick's Day parade. Yet, like many cities that parade, we are not really an Irish City. Probably the last place I would think of for a St Pat's parade would be Tokyo. Consider this message from Irish folks in that city:
We decided to postpone for 20th St. Patrick's day Parade on 13th of March. Because of horrible earthquake today. Now we don't decide another day or schedule. Please wait for our information until we'll advise you. I would like to express my hearty sympathy. Still aftershock, please take care of yourself.
Each morning there seems to be a new heartbreaking event in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. My prayers go out to them and to those Irish, and not, in Japan I offer the last line of the Irish Blessing: May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

St Patrick's Day Clichés

This website has an amusing list in a post titled: 10 Ways to be a Total Cliche on St. Patrick’s Day. Here are the first five clichés from the list:
  1. Wear Green: Wearing green is the standard dress for St. Patrick's Day in America, even if the color is considered unlucky in Ireland.
  2. Pinch Anyone Who's Not Wearing Green: To truly be cliché on St. Patty's Day, you should pinch anyone and everyone who's not wearing green. Who cares if they're complete strangers or two feet taller than you – pinch away!
  3. Drink Green Beer: Drinking green beer is mandatory for a cliché St. Patty's Day. Why would you settle for an Irish stout like Guinness when you can have a festively dyed Miller Lite instead?
  4. Wear a "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" Pin: You can find these cliché pins at just about any store around St. Patty's. But just because your pin says "Kiss me, I'm Irish" doesn't mean you'll get that lucky.
  5. Eat Corned Beef and Cabbage: It doesn't get much more Irish (or cliché) than having corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. You can order the dish at your favorite Irish pub, or better yet, make it at home.
I have to admit that, even though I am 50% Irish in ancestry, I usually forget to wear green.. Ann makes up for it. I also do not pinch anyone, have never had green beer and I do not wear pins. But I do love to eat corned beef and cabbage.. sometimes even on March 17th.

How about you? Will you embrace some cliché like behavior tomorrow?

Workin' 9 to 5.. sort of..

Recently US Senator (I-VT) Bernie Sanders said on C-SPAN's Washington Journal program:
"We now work the longest hours of any people around the world."
Politifact checked it out and determined that Sanders' stats were based on 1997 data.
When they checked further they ascertained that more recent data showed:
  • The U.S ranked twelfth (out of 35 industrialized nations) when it comes to the annual number of hours actually worked per person. Greece, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Mexico, Iceland, Italy, Korea, the Russian Federation, Estonia and Israel all worked longer hours.
  • The number of hours worked by Americans has been gradually declining (though only slightly) over the last decade. And according to the ILO, we no longer work the longest hours. In fact, that hasn't been true for over a decade. And according to OECD statistics, the U.S. hasn't even cracked the Top 10 in over a decade.
  • In all developing Asian economies where data were available, people historically worked more than in industrialized economies. This is a typical sign for developing economies as they often compensate for the lack of technology and capital with people working longer hours.
I am not sure what to make of these stats but I do wonder if it has anything to do with the way that jobs and manufacturing has been outsourced to other countries. What do you think? Do you agree that Americans are not working as many hours as we once did?

Geeky Action Figures

This ZDNet article breaks the news that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has broken through and now, like Apple CEO Steve Jobs, now has his very own action figure. The 7-inch toy also comes with two buttons and three speech bubbles: you can set the action figure to hold either a Like or Poke button. And just in case you are wondering my birthday is in May.. not that I would want something like this.

Awakening to Dream

Ever wonder how that famous "I have a dream" statement Martin Luther King Jr. could be applicable for you? The idea of dreaming is one that is used (perhaps overused) by speakers seeking to inspire us to stretch past our limitations. Consider what US President John Kennedy once said:
"The problems of this world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were."
I so resonate with that sentiment but now flow more with this quote from Carl Jung:
"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart ... Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."
In a sense I think that it is necessary to first awaken before you can dream. Before we can dream about the future it is so important to know ourselves and our heart desires.

For a good part of my life I dreamed about promotions and elevated job descriptions.. when I got those jobs I found that I was happier doing the things I used to do. Unfortunately it took me a long time to awaken to the heart stuff. These days my dreams are so much more focused because I know myself and have awakened to the desires of my heart.

I think that people who have achieved great things, like Dr King, had first awakened to who they are and what they are called to do. From that internal place they were able to see clear enough to dream past the limitations of their mind.

Remembering those in Japan and those who Serve

Words escape us all when devastation like this hits a country. For me it is a reminder to treasure every day. I think that crises like this one are a call to pray and intercede for people who we do not know and most likely will never meet.

This front page from Stars and Stripes also reminds me that we have soldiers who risk their lives and are in harms way all over the world.

Please join me in asking God to comfort those who are suffering in Japan. Also please remember to pray for out troops.

Losing sleep over losing an hour of sleep?

Just a reminder for you in the United States and other places that observe Daylight Savings - today is the day that we proverbially spring ahead. I am a big fan of DST. I love having an extra hour of daylight in the evening.

How about you? Are you a fan of this practice or will you lose sleep over losing an hour of sleep tonight?

Ethanol: Bad Deal for Tax Payers?

Driving to Chicago this week I filled my tank in Illinois with gas that was about 10% ethanol. The gas was a lot more than I paid in Missouri for gas without it. So I thought that I'd Google a bit and see what was going on. Here are a few bullet points from an article on ethanol subsidies
  • Corn ethanol subsidies totaled $7.0 billion in 2006 for 4.9 billion gallons of ethanol. Here is the breakdown of those subsidies:
    1. 51¢ per gallon federal blenders credit for $2.5 billion from our tax dollars.
    2. $0.9 billion in corn subsidies for ethanol corn from our tax dollars.
    3. $3.6 billion extra paid at the pump.
  • Even with high gas prices in 2006, producing a gallon of ethanol cost 38¢ more than making gasoline with the same energy.
I once worked as a contract employee at the US Department of Agriculture and was pretty appalled at the subsidies that the Cotton Industry received from tax payers. Programs like these are testimonials to the power of lobbyists in Washington, DC. I am in favor of new types of energy but you really have wonder about something that needs this much subsidy.

Am I missing something? Anyone have experience with ethanol prices in your state?

Lessons I learned on my trip to Chicago

This week Ann and traveled by car to Chicago from Kansas City - about 500 miles one way. Here are a few things that I learned.. in no particular order..
  • State governments waste money by putting the name of the "current" governor on the state signs. "Welcome to Illinois" would have been sufficient and reduced the need to change the sign when a new potentate is elected.
  • I get better Chicago style pizza in Kansas City.. actually I buy it frozen from a restaurant that markets in our area. The crust on the pizza I had in Chicago was dry and the pizza was mostly cheese. This New Yorker was not impressed.
  • Chicago is a really big city with a great downtown area. I forgot what it is like to have a vibrant city filled with people, business and shopping. My hope is that the downtown area of KC will one day be described that way.
  • Illinois is as flat as western Kansas - at least along I-55. This was a stark contrast to the rolling hills that we traveled along I-70 in Missouri. As we got closer to Chicago there seemed to be more trees but it still seemed very flat.
  • Downtown Chicago has some wild one person wheelchair lifts. The buildings are very old and many have been adapted with lifts to help people like Ann navigate anywhere from two to six steps. At Lawry's Restaurant she need two such lifts.
  • The folks who design "handicapped accessible" hotel rooms really don't have a clue. They need advice from people in wheelchairs to help them understand how little things like grab bar and closet placements should be done.
  • Chicago has great bagels.. especially at a place called e-Leaven. These tasted more like the New York ones that I grew up with. The ones in KC are from Einstein Brothers and taste good but not as good as these.
  • Illinois is a slow state. And by that I mean the speed limit is 65 MPH.. at least on I-55. I was glad to get back to Missouri where the limit is 70 on I-70. It is a small thing but significant as Kansas seeks to expand their limit to over 70.
  • And lastly, I learned that the doctors have accepted Ann into the stem cell surgery trial. The next step is to get approval from our insurance company. You can keep up with her status in this here. We are very excited.
I am glad to be back in Kansas City. We may not be the Second City (actually Los Angeles is now second) but KC is the Number One Small City.. or is that Large Town?

Lent, Ash Wednesday and Me

Growing up in New York City I had a lot of Roman Catholic friends. On Ash Wednesday some of these friends would come to school with ashes on their foreheads. Being an Episcopalian I really did not understand this Christian tradition. Perhaps you do not understand it. Here is an excerpt from the wiki about it:
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days (40 days not counting Sundays) before Easter. It is a moveable fast, falling on a different date each year because it is dependent on the date of Easter. It can occur as early as February 4 (February 5 on leap years) or as late as March 10. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms or Palm Crosses from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.
I have never received ashes on this day but have observed Lent. Last year I gave up shaving.. I know it seems lame but it was amazing how this really helped me to pray more.. each time I touched my face I was reminded to pray.. it surprised me how this helped me to pray. For me that is the heart of 'giving something up for Lent' - does it help you to pray?

I plan to observe Lent this year. Are you planning to observe it?

Living Below Your Means

Suze Orman has a new book that she was hawking on The Today Show. Heard her tell Matt Lauer this morning that it is critical to rethink many of the traditional strategies we've been using to achieve our financial goals. She said that the old fiscal mantra of "living within your means" is no longer a valid axiom to live by. She said that our new mantra should be "living below our means" and thinks that we should develop that same kind of joy when we save as when we spend. I resonate with this. My thinking is that it is about asking the "should" questions and not the "could" questions.

The Bible, Jefferson and Me

The story of Thomas Jefferson, the third US President, and his cut-and-paste 'bible' is a very interesting one. Here is a bit about it from the wiki:
The Jefferson Bible, or The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth as it is formally titled, was Thomas Jefferson's effort to extract the doctrine of Jesus by removing sections of the New Testament containing supernatural aspects as well as perceived misinterpretations he believed had been added by the Four Evangelists.
Using a razor, Jefferson cut and arranged selected verses from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in chronological order, mingling excerpts from one text to those of another in order to create a single narrative. Thus he begins with Luke 2 and Luke 3, then follows with Mark 1 and Matthew 3. He provides a record of which verses he selected and of the order in which he arranged them in his “Table of the Texts from the Evangelists employed in this Narrative and of the order of their arrangement.”
The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth begins with an account of Jesus’s birth without references to angels, genealogy, or prophecy. Miracles, references to the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, and Jesus' resurrection are also absent from The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
I find Jefferson's actions to be so interesting. Can you imagine a person so obsessed that he would take a razor to the bible? If memory serves me right (and it may not) I think that Martin Luther did something similar to the book of James.

I have a hard time imagining this kind of dogmatism. Yet I can relate to allowing my ideology and theology to impact the way that I interpret the bible. I can relate to building a theology that is based on the intellectual theology that I learned from pastors and in bible college. I can understand how Jefferson's background, experiences and intellectual focus compelled him to slice and dice the scriptures in that manner.

The message from Jefferson is that we can err greatly when we allow our brain to trump our hearts. When we reduce spiritual things to those that we can apprehend with our brains we are left with the Jefferson Bible. We are left with Deist tendencies that draw us to lives where everything is explainable.. where awe, miracles and wonder are left for the children. And maybe that is why Jesus instructs us to become as children?

I want to be a child in such matters. How about you?

Make Everyone Hurt except the Young

Last week columnist wrote a NY Times article titled Make Everyone Hurt. Here is a clip:
Getting state and federal budgets under control will take decades. It will require varied, multipronged approaches, supported by broad and shifting coalitions. It’s really important that we establish an unwritten austerity constitution: a set of practices that will help us cut effectively now and in the future.

The foundation of this unwritten constitution has to be this principle: make everybody hurt. The cuts have to be spread more or less equitably among as many groups as possible. There will never be public acceptance if large sectors of society are excluded.
Brooks followed up the article with another this week speaking of The New Normal.
Here are a few clips from it:
We’re going to be doing a lot of deficit cutting over the next several years. The country’s future greatness will be shaped by whether we cut wisely or stupidly. So we should probably come up with a few sensible principles to guide us as we cut.

The first one, as I tried to argue last week, is: Make Everybody Hurt. The sacrifice should be spread widely and fairly. A second austerity principle is this: Trim from the old to invest in the young. We should adjust pension promises and reduce the amount of money spent on health care during the last months of life so we can preserve programs for those who are growing and learning the most.
Brooks makes a lot of sense to me. We all know that our governmental budgets and deficits need to be reduced and an austerity framework seems to makes sense. It also seems appropriate that everyone should experience some level of pain when the cuts are made. Yet cutting benefits from our children and grandchildren just seems wrong.

What do you think about Brooks proposals?

Bacon Ice Cream

You knew that it had to happen. Here is the recipe (like I really need one) that accompanies the picture.

Pretty hard to deny that bacon and ice cream make one heckuva gastronomical dynamic duo.

Would you give it a try? I would.

Solar Interference

My cable company sent me an email message today where they talked about the affect that the sun has on satellite transmissions. Here is a clip from their message:
Solar interference is just what it sounds like. As the sun moves lower in the sky each day, there are times when it is in direct line behind a signal-sending satellite. While the antenna dish on the ground is aimed skyward to receive transmissions, the interference from the sun overrides the satellite’s signals. Zap. Tile. Freeze. Aargh.
I sometimes forget that cable is not all about "cables" but depends heavily upon signals from outer space. I wonder what other industries are affected by this kind of interference.

Using Technology to beat a Speeding Ticket

I am planning to upgrade my phone to one with an Android operating system later this year. So this story titled Man uses GPS on Droid to refute speeding ticket really caught me attention. Here are a few clips from it:
The police accused Sahas Katta of going more than 40 mph in a 25 mph limit, according to the story, which was authored by Katta himself. Katta was a little taken aback. He said he felt sure he wasn't going quite that fast. Fortunately, his Motorola Droid cell phone enjoyed Google MyTracks, according to his account. This charming software records your GPS tracks and even lets you watch live stats--which might not be such a good idea when you're driving. 
Still, even though Katta had been meek with the traffic policeman in question, when he looked at his MyTracks afterward, he said he discovered something that was more akin to his own inner senses. The maximum speed recorded had only been 26 mph, according to the story.

He decided to fight his case in traffic court in Yolo County, Calif., and was nervous giving evidence, he said. Who wouldn't be? Traffic officers are always firm with their facts. But he presented his GPS data. He also, rather cleverly, took the advice of a lawyer and asked the traffic cop whether he had experienced radar gun training recently and when the gun was last calibrated.  
Katta said the judge didn't seem too au fait with GPS technology, but he didn't seem too impressed with the traffic cop's evidence either. 
So, in a victory for common technology, he decided the ticket should not be paid.
Kudos to Mr Katta for going to court and using technology to plead his case. Makes me want to get that Android phone and check our Google MyTracks.

Do you have an Android smartphone? What are your favorite apps?

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps | ★★★★★★★

This movie was better than I thought that it would be. It may have been helpful to re-watch the original but probably not necessary. The movie picks up years after Gordon Gecko (played again by Michael Douglas) is released from jail. Gecko seems to be a changed person.. his rehabilitation seems very real as he seeks to reestablish a relationship with his estranged twenty something daughter. His care for Wall Street trader and future son-in-law, played by Shia La Beouf, comes across as very heart felt. The message is that Gecko is a changed man - or is he? The answer to that question is really the heart of the movie. On a scale of ten, I give it ★★★★★★★.