Archive for August, 2006

Our Next Watch

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It looks like a slightly oversized wristwatch
and it keeps time with great accuracy – but it is much more than a
watch. It is a wrist computer that includes among its many functions
a global positioning system receiver.

He can check his watch to see if he’s near the right tree: he recorded
the coordinates the year before. And his hands, meanwhile, are free to
carry other things like notebooks and pens.

The watch, which costs about $500, is made by the Finnish company Suunto.
Inside its highly engineered 2.7 ounces are a multitude of functions
for the thoughtful navigator, including an altimeter, electronic compass,
thermometer and barometer, all meant for people who want to know not
only their exact place in the world, but also the prospects of any sudden
change in the weather.

Students take note…

from the
New York Times

Fighting Obesity, One Cow at a Time

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Judy Dresser knows bigger is not always better, especially when
it comes to livestock. On her Danville ranch live six miniature black
Angus beef cows.

Dresser began breeding and selling the Australian-developed cattle for
fun about two years ago and considers her designer beefers "part
of the family."

Still, industry insiders say all types of diminutive cattle, of which
about 26 different breeds exist — including mini-Herefords, Holsteins
and Jerseys — are growing in popularity around the world, primarily
as pets for moms with large back yards.

from the Contra Costa Times

The Family Jewels

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BEDFORD, N.H. — A store surveillance camera captured a family
shoplifting from a New Hampshire consignment store, authorities said.

In the video, shot last week, two young children are seen removing items
from the jewelry case under what appears to be directions from their
mother.

"This is a well-orchestrated plan," said Bedford police Detective
Matthew Fleming.

Police said the family of six walked in and stayed 20 minutes. They walked
out with thousands of dollars in merchandise.

At one point, the family picked an item to buy, then followed the clerk
to the register, leaving behind a young boy to steal.

Then, with the mother on the far side of the store, the young girl made
a dash for an unlocked case.

The woman turned herself in to Bedford police on Wednesday. Police said
she came to the station after the videotape was aired on local television.

However, since no warrant had been filed, no arrest was made. The woman
promised to return after a warrant was issued.

from NBC Channel 4

Nice of the police to let her go home until they could cook up a
warrant. We guess in New Hampshire they believe in the honor system
when it comes
to jewel thiefs, which must cut down on law enforcement expenditures…..

HERE is the video

The Terrorists Among Us

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As we careen closer to the fifth anniversary
of 9/11 and the election day that lurks a few weeks behind, expect
to hear more and more crowing over the fact that we haven’t been hit
again during that time, and speculation as to why not.

The law ‘n order repubs and the neo-cons will claim
it has been their non-stop efforts to dog the dastardly terrorists,
fighting them abroad, disrupting their financial networks, reading
their mail and keeping them off of airplanes. Liberals, Dems and anti-war
activists will cry that the right-wing paranoia is misdirected, counterproductive
and a transparent front for a cynical conspiracy to erode liberty and
deny Americans their hard-won rights.

Give it a break, guys! It is obvious to the Dowbrigade
why the terrorists, despite their threats and the capacity to act on
them, have refrained from hitting us again. Like professionals everywhere, the elite international
terrorists like working in America.

They like the loose borders and the unfettered freedom
of movement within them.  They enjoy the efficient transportation
system which enables them to get to meetings, move supplies and mix
a little recon in with their tourism.  They especially like the
ubiquitous internet, available in cafes and libraries in every city
town and village, which allows them to stay in touch with their friends,
plan their events, and research future job possibilities.

They appreciate our modern banking system. which allows
them to remain liquid, mobile and ready to take advantage of business
opportunities at a moments notice. They like American banks so much
that they all have multiple bank accounts and multiple ATM cards sto they can restock
their wallets anywhere, anytime.

And they are using those cards. We should be happy that they
are spending so much of their hard-raised jihad dollars supporting
the American economy that they are simultaneously working so hard to destroy. They are busy
buying cell phones, powerful personal computers, GPS positioning systems,
those
nifty night-vision goggles, remote-controlled planes, chemical supplies
and wonderful wardrobes. No where else is so much worthwhile gear so
readily available, and so cheap!

We are sure
they check for sales and bargains before buying, but doubt they go
for those mail-in rebates.

The simple reason they haven’t attacked us is that
they know that after the next major attack, the candy store is closing.
This country is going to be locked down so tight that North Korea will
seem like Brazil during Carnival in comparison. The borders will be
closed, national ID cards will be adopted faster than a billionaire
orphan, phone calls, email and magazine subscriptions will become open
records and "suspicious alien detention centers" will start popping
up like mushrooms after a summer rain.

Despite our best efforts to avoid racism and profiling,
it is going to be a very difficult time for Arabic-looking males in
this country. Non-citizens will have to register with the local police
every time they move or change residence. Citizens will have to show
their universal IDs to vote, get a job, rent an apartment, get on a
plane, train or bus, be treated in a hospital as well as at increasingly frequent
random checks in the streets and shopping malls.

The provisions have already be written, and the contingency
plans elaborated in great detail, "just in case." The terrorists know
this, and they have no desire to be cut off from the cornocopia of
opportunites and resources our country represents. They plan to get
as many operatives in, and as much information and materiel out as
possible
before the
inevitable storm
hits.

Whether this is all part of a conspiracy depends on
one’s point of view, but
is
immaterial
in any case, at least until history renders its judgment on the end
of The American Century. It is going to happen, and we will all have
to deal with the consequences.

You Didn’t See It Here

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For the past several years we have included
an extra unit in our Business Classes when we are dealing with Marketing
– Product
Placement. It seems that brand name products are popping up EVERYWHERE;
not just in movies, but on TV, in magazines, on the streets and in
internet video. These days every major consumer product company has
a director of product placement. actively looking for hip, cutting
edge venues to showcase their products.

As usual, we prefer to do things a little diffently.
Building on our blood oath to never, under any circumstances, mention in
our blog our job, or our employer, or our colleages, or our students,
past present or future, or in fact anything related to our employment,
we have decided to expand on that little pledge, for a price.

Yes, trailblazer that he is, the Dowbrigade will promise
NOT to mention, lampoon, lambast, or otherwise blog about, your company,
your product, or in fact you yourself, for the low, low yearly payment
of $50 (US, payable in three easy instalments of S16.99, no money orders
please).

If this works, we may have invented a whole new industry….

Virtually the Same

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A
California company owned by the data storage giant EMC Corp. has unveiled
software that lets Apple Computer Inc.’s Macintosh machines run Microsoft
Corp.’s Windows software, side-by-side with Mac programs.

VMware Inc., of Palo Alto, is demonstrating
the software at Apple’s annual developers conference in San Francisco. VMware
hasn’t given the product a name, or decided on a price. But it plans to offer
a beta
version, available for downloading from the Internet, before year’s end.

from the
Boston Globe

The usually reliable
Hiawatha Bray reports on atrailbreaking new product to allow owners
of the new Intel Macs to run OSX, Windows and Linux at the same
time!

But wait a minute…..this sounds familiar.
Our memory is slightly short of
photographic, but we seem to remember….

Personal Technology column looks at Parallels
Desktop for Ma
c, which allows users of Apple Macintosh computers to run the
Windows and OS X operating systems at the same time; finds that the product works
very well, despite some drawbacks; Parallels Desktop goes on sale June 15 for
$79 at the developer’s Web site, parallels.com.

from the Washington Post, June 15,
2006

Actually, InfoWorld already has a nice article
comparing the two products….

Parallels already has a huge head start as it already has a product out and in
the field. They also have their product in brick and mortar store locations,
such as the Apple Store. And they went through a very impressive beta cycle with
Mac owners, asking for input and feedback as to what features should be in the
product. Is their headstart enough? Or will people wait for VMware’s product
to come out of beta?

Ladies and Gentlemen, You are Floating in Space

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A young Dutch architect has
created a floating bed which hovers above the ground through magnetic
force and comes with a price tag of 1.2 million euros ($1.54 million).

Janjaap Ruijssenaars took inspiration for the bed — a sleek
black platform, which took six years to develop and can double as a dining
table or a plinth — from the mysterious monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s
1968 cult film "2001: A Space Odyssey."

"No matter where you live all architecture is dictated by gravity.
I wondered whether you could make an object, a building or a piece of
furniture
where this is not the case — where another power actually dictates the
image," Ruijssenaars said.

"Magnets built into the floor and into the
bed itself repel each other, pushing the bed up into the air. Thin
steel cables tether the bed in
place.

"It is not comfortable at the moment," admits Ruijssenaars,
adding it needs cushions and bedclothes before use.

Although people with piercings should have no problem sleeping on the
bed, Ruijssenaars advises them against entering the magnetic field between
the bed and the floor.
They could find their piercing suddenly tugged toward one of the magnets.

from Reuters

Devil’s Music

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CHICAGO — Teens whose iPods are full of music with
raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer
other songs, a study found.

Whether it’s hip-hop, rap, pop or rock, much of popular music aimed at
teens contains sexual overtones. Its influence on their behavior appears
to depend on how the sex is portrayed, researchers found.

Teens who said they listened to lots of music with
degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having
intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years
as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.

from Channel 6 Orlando

Forget "It was twenty years ago today", it was fifty years
ago that the hinterland and the religious right was up in arms over
that "jungle music," rock and roll. There were serious movements
and legislative initiatives across the country to ban the devil’s music
since it clearly enflamed sexual passion, led to uncontrolled behavior,
drug use, teenage pregnancy and race mixing.

It gives us a warm sense of deja vu to hear all of
these arguments being dragged out of the closet again and run up the
flagpole again. We even have to, begrudgingly, mark down the ability
to inspire such moral
indignation
as a redeeming attribute for a genre (hip-hop) with little else to
recommend it.

Of course, the present-day protests will go exactly
nowhere, just like their antecedents half a century ago, and for the
very same reason. A whole bunch of cynical white businessmen have figured
out how to make millions off of teen tension and horme-fueled hatred.