thinking about the world differently . . .
August 27th, 2017

Not my usual material, but … why not?

I have a Bodum Brazil French Coffee Press. It is probably the most inexpensive model sold for 11 to $18 at Target or Ebay. My model has a black handle and body – like so:

Makes good-to-my-taste coffee!

The device has an annoying feature: It collects gunk. What I mean is coffee residue and hard water deposit. There are specifically two spots where the stuff collects, and the design of this device is truly problematic, unless you know the following trick!

But, first things first.

The beaker sits inside a plastic “cup”-like bottom and it fits awfully snugly. The handle, made from the same stiff plastic material, has a part that fits over the rim of the beaker rim into the beaker to provide a secure hold. Here is an enlarged detail of that part. you can see the shadow of the handle part as it sits over the lip.

Now coffee residue collects between this part and the glass – on the inside. It is very difficult to clean without contortions and using some weird brushes etc. But I dunno, I have an aversion to old coffee residue, especially several generations old!

The area collecting the residue of hard water is on the edge of the “cup”-like portion of the handle. Also, on the bottom of the cup, there is more hard water residue collection opportunity!

Clean up is not that simple as direct access to the surfaces is extremely difficult, and in the case of the “cup”, impossible. On first gander, it looks like one could bend the handle upward and slip it over the lip of the beaker. But the plastic material is pretty rigid and probably get more rigid with age, and that means the handle can break.

The solution, it seems is to twist the beaker 180 degrees until the spout is located under handle. Now it is easier to bend the handle outward, and then twist out the beaker from the “cup” to allow cleaning of all the surfaces.

One tip can help: pour hot water on the “cup” to help in loosening the plastic before you twist the beaker.

To remove the coffee and hard water residues, use plain white vinegar. Pour some on a sponge and use it to soak the residues. let the vinegar do the work, even refresh the vinegar and resoak. It works better than scrubbing and possibly scratching the glass.

Before you put it back together, dry all the surfaces, and to ease the twisting of the beaker in the “cup” i used a tiny-tiny amount of coconut oil on the “cup”‘s inside. I had coconut oil s I used it. I do not think it makes a different what you use. Use really a tiny amount. This also helps create a barrier against water just sitting in that corner and creating the residue.

Now carefully place the beaker into the “cup” so the spout faces the handle. Slip the end of the handle over the spout, and then carefully press the beaker evenly into the “cup”. When that is done, grasp the beaker and twist it 180 degrees so the spout is opposite the handle.

Surgery – and cleanup – DONE!

August 16th, 2017

Too good to pass up…

Andy Borowitz, who writes pretty decent comic pieces about the presidents of the USA seems busy in the past few months (can you guess why?)

Today he published 2 pieces, but the title of the second piece was so good, I decided to just publish it here for your pleasure:

Ivanka and Jared Vacationing in Moral Vacuum

Enjoy!

You can click the link above to read the funny piece.

August 5th, 2017

I bet we know …

The Huffington Post posted that Anthony Scarramucchi will "go dark" in an article titled Why The Mooch Lost His Cool by Vicky Ward.



Contemplating what he was and what he would become, ’cause it’s a small dark place… How will the ego fit in there?

I bet we all have theories and descriptions for what he was before, and what he will probably be when he returns (God forbid!)Now, clean thoughts only 🙂



Got my ass fired. Got my bags right here, am ready to travel…


July 16th, 2017

Ironic, isn’t it?


Indeed! Democracy dies in Darkness. Oligarchs are main producers and suppliers (and beneficiaries!) of darkness.

Of course it is rather ironic for WaPo to use that in its masthead as a motto-like. Ironic, in that WaPo is a mouthpiece for oligarchs who are the main purveyors of darkness in our society.

July 14th, 2017

Huh!

Sometimes, Hope and Reality part ways. But it is lovely to see them walk the road together…

February 4th, 2017

URL Shortening

Waaay back when, when we started using the web, it became clear that URLs are hard to remember. Sure, we have domain names that are human-memorable like “meshar.net/blog” and “google.com”. But soon enough URL became “http://meshar.net/blog/?p=5004” (the URL (link) for this post) and much much worse and longer.

In stepped technology with ways to shorten URLs. Maybe they were not that human-memorable, but at least they were shorter. For example, a service called tinyurl.com sjortened the above to “http://tinyurl.com/hd3h62t”… Ok, that’s not much of a feat, shortening a 30 character URL to 28 chatacters. But it works. Imagine a URL like this monster: https://www.google.com/maps/place/48%C2%B051’32.2%22N+2%C2%B017’38.6%22E/@48.8586285,2.2941227,19z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d48.8589438!4d2.2940484 ?? 151 characters! Tinyurl.com squeezed this to “http://tinyurl.com/hpg2amr” – all of 26 characters. Click it, et voilá, you are transported on Google Maps to the corner of the Tour Eiffel in Paris.

So this is nice. But danger looms around the corner in the world on World Wide Web. Tha bad guys are out there trying to grab your secrets and make money off you.

You see: Many people are now conditioned enough to be wary of URLs like that monster above. It is weird looking, could be dangerous. Indeed. The characters can hide all sorts of attacks that would infect your computer and lead you astray.

So today I read a nice article on Make tech Easier about URL Shortening. It provided a link to another service that would give you a preview of what you are about to go to – http://checkshorturl.com – use the page there to enter the long URL and let the service tell you more where this URL will take you!

Nice deal.

I like to use a service available at v.gd. The monster above was shortened to “https://v.gd/R3Qk7a”… When you go to that URL, it does not automatically push you into the destination, but instead first shows you where the destination is, so you can make a more informed decision to continue to the ultimate destination, or forget it.

So now you know. Enjoy.

January 26th, 2017

How to navigate the NEW truth

5The NEW truth is just my term for the phenomenon spreading worldwide, much more openly since the 2016 Election campaign in the USA. Yeah, we are the “trendsetters” here, although it is no great source of pride.

The new truth is what both campaigns were using to twist and bend whatever info was out there to suit their marketing and communications needs. In the past, this was done in a more subtle way, such as the laws passed in several US states named “right to work” laws. These laws are specifically aimed at reducing or destroying collective bargaining power workers have (union representation), by cleverly denying unions the right to collect membership fees from workers when those workers are not members of the union. The rationale behind the fee collection is that workers benefit from collective bargaining (e.g. work conditions, hours, safety standards improve for all workers.)

Denying the agency fees to the unions undercuts their ability to support workers during work actions and makes their job harder.

The laws to affect these denials are called “right to work” because they allegedly “protect” the workers who are not interested in being represented by a union. This is, of course, a complete deceit and verbal sleight-of-hand.

Such examples of subtle deceit were rampant in the past, but in the new politics, sublety is apparently not sufficient. A new mechanism appeared a few short years ago, which more openly deploys a lie.

To understand how this works have a look at today’s Dilbert cartoon.

Pointy Haired Boss (PHB) posted a racist post about the mythical Elbonians and was called out by Dibert in yesterday’s strip.

This relates to the wave of “fake news” items, which is still another step away from truth and deeper into the reaches of lies which sort-or, maybe, kinda pass like true stories.

On January 14, 2017, there was an interesting article on NPR by WNYC On The Media titled “A Taxonomy of Trump Tweets“. It provides a brief structural analysis of the tweets produced by the new President of the USA. These tweets, while seemingly the rantings of an insomniac lunatic, do have structure, they have purpose, and a theme. The analysis is provided by a heavy-duty scientist, George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist of great renown.

The article is an 8 minute or so of reporter Brooke Galdstone’s interview with Lakoff, well worth your time. The transcript of the interview is here.

January 8th, 2017

Respect

Sean Spicer, the spokesperson for president-elect Trump, complained that the media does not accord DJT with the respect he deserves.

Pardon me, I always thought respect is something you work for, earn. That is is not something you get because of your genetics, good looks, or haircut… Apparently, along with other norms of this society, that respect earning bit is also flipped over on its head.

Along with this “good morning message” in the news, came the realization that indeed this reaction is just that bump in the rug that scurries around lookinh for an outlet, the problem is much deeper. Rob Goodman wrote this excellent article titled “What the King of Hawaii Can Teach Us About Trump – A political fable from 1819.

It explains the fate of norms. While it will not make you feel fuzzily relieved, you will understand where things are, where they could be, and outline a way for each of us to move forward and to imprint of ourselves anf our norms on the upcoming “new order” in the world. An important message…

December 27th, 2016

Google Calendar

On the desktop version of Google Calendar, one can add an event that takes the entire day, i.e. no start/stop time. There is a little checkbox designating the event as “all day”.

On the Android platform non-desktop form of the calendar, the “mobile version”, this is not readily possible. But the following trick works… The event should start at 12:00AM on the desired date, and end on the next day, at 12:00AM.

That schedule spans the entire 24 hours. The event will show as an “all day” event on the desired day, and no hint of it on the next day.

Now, I’ll keep a lookout for a trick to change the calendar without resorting to presenting the calendar in the desktop form and editing the event in that format. Google never put the ability to CHANGE the calendar in the edit screen, only to choose the calensar when initially creating the event.

December 13th, 2016

The Upcoming Administration of the 45th US President

A few moments ago, while reading a comment in The Register in an unrelated article, I found out that there was actually a movie made by the name of Idiocracy. It was made in 2006, directed by Mike Judge. You can read about it in Wikipedia, or in IMDB.

Who’d have thunk?!

   am, 22 April 2017

Someone defined it in a word:

IDIOCRACY

Sadly, seems insanely accurate. In addition to the obvious, we are painfully reminded of the heady days of presidential debates in November 2011, when a candidate for presidency vowed his desire to eliminate 3 government departments: Commerce, Education, and er…. [insert a word here for brainfart…] Yes, the same inimitable buffoon, Mr. Rick Perry.

Now repeat: i-d-i-o-c-r-a-c-y, and again, so you do not forget… OY!

December 3rd, 2016

2016 Elections

Took place Nov. 8. It was yuge… Enough said. Seems like entire swaths of the Mercan population were thrpwn into sudden anxiety (maybe?) and uncertainty (quite likely.) What will future life in the USA look and be like.

Very good question.

The analysis is on high speed. Party entities are trying to figure out what they did right, or wrong, or both.

Seems like most analysis INSIDE party entities is hammering the same the same… New answers will probably not emerge, because the premises and assumptions are the same the same, but the population experienced something new this time around; two non-the-same candidates.

One was stifled half way towards the finish line (yeah, that’s Sanders) The other went on to become President-elect of the USA.

The “differentness” in this case is that both felt, sounded, perhaps even were taking a break from the established political framework.

Sen. Sanders broke early and although ran as a democrat, broke with the traditional lines of communication with voters, broke the norms in terms of messages, and did phenomenally well, till he foiled and declined to run on his own merits. Was he a real anti-establishment candidate? I am thinking yes, but I also think Sanders scared himself when he realized that he had a REAL shot. What a pity.

Trump kicked the GOP in the shins, maybe even higher, and managed to subvert the GOP to become his carriers of water and all other things he may need.

Whether he will be the anti-establishment president he seemed to promise is unclear. Let’s come back to that in a few weeks.

So we’ll see if the voters will be getting the change they really wanted in the political make up of the USA.

I am skeptical Trump is the harbinger of change.

March 29th, 2016

Here is a mindbender

J. Craig Venter - Wikipedia

J. Craig Venter – Wikipedia

Craig Venter is a genomics pioneer and an incredibly gifted and creative geneticist, biochemist, biotechnologist and a few other nearly unpronounceable professions. A new research article published in Science [link here and another, possibly easier to understand, here] on March 25, 2016 details work done to create what can be called the smallest possible living genome. Yes, this is on the serrated edge of “creating life” in the lab.

The team used a tiny microbe with a very simple genome consisting of several hundred genes, and then essentially carved out gene after gene to create the smallest viable organism. “Viable” is a big word since none of the organisms can survive outside a petri dish because the Venter team simply made up for deficiencies that were not essential by adding the needed parts in the lab. So if gene x is needed to create a food form, that food was added to the dish, and the gene came out of the “engineered” organism’s genome.

Syn 3.0

Ultimately, the final form they dubbed “Syn 3.0” had 473 genes. It was “viable” based on the definition explained above. Much to the surprise of the team, they had to add various genes just to accomplish that minimum viability test.

149 genes were added. So what is the surprise? The team hasn’t a clue what the function of these genes is!

Hmmm… Life is much more complicated and mysterious than we ever assumed! The plot thickens…

See here for another article in Extreme Tech that is slightly more accessible to non-science readers…

Seems as though the saying “Enjoy Life” takes on different meaning than we ever intended…

March 15th, 2016

Ok, so how do you read this?

The Dilbert comics give me a daily chuckle, sometimes a giggle, and an occasional wild laughter.

On March 14, 2016 the comic strip had this perfect gem – entirely wild-laughter-worthy! I hope you get a wild laughter bout too…

dt160314

March 9th, 2016

Humans vs. AlphaGo: 0-1

You’ll hear more about the game of Go and the program called AlphaGo in the next months and years.

Go is a game played in Japan, Korea, and China (possibly other cultures in the far East.) It dates back over 3500 years. The game is played on a board marked with a grid of 19×19 upon which players place black or white pebbles in turn. They attempt to place their pebbles to surround and thus capture the opponents pebbles.

The rules are few and dead simple. Some people report mastering the rules (not the game, though!) in 10 minutes. The simplicity however is deceptive as the strategies, subtlety and intricacy is incredibly deep.

Go takes years to master although it is fun to play at any time and at any level.

Ladt night, in Seoul, South Korea Go player Lee Se-dol, a legendary player in the world, list the first of 5 games in an historic match between a human and a program.

The program, AlphaGo, was created by a Google unit dealing with neural networks, artificial intelligence and machine learning called DeepMind.

Lee resigned following more than three arduous hours. Lee said after the game “I was very surprised, I didn’t expect to lose. I didn’t think AlphaGo would play the game in such a perfect manner.”

I’ll post more later…

March 9th, 2016

Pun gallery: Don’t Ignore Teleportation, It Can Get Us Somewhere

I happen to love puns. Always have, even when my primary languages were not English. I am even known to have made a number of cross-lingual puns… You all know that some pun can light up your day, others can make the groans emanate from nearly everyone present within earshot.

So I’ll be publishing an occasional post with a chosen pun. My classification will be “Pun gallery” or “Pun groaner”. Maybe I should even consider the terminology “Pun” and “Pan” as the British use it (as in “toilet”)

If you like a pun, please let me know by commenting below. If you not like a pun, please let me know by commenting below.

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