Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Too many ideas? Here’s help.

I recently read the book Making Ideas Happen. If you are an idea person, or know one who needs help putting their plans into action, please read this.

The book makes the point that ideas are worthless. “Try to sell one”. Ideas that have been put into action are valuable.

Learning to be biased toward action is what this book by Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of Behance, wants you to become.

The author offers a simple plan he calls the “Action Method“. He believes that every project in your life can be broken down into one of three categories. And he also believes that everything you do is a project.

The categories are

  1. Action Steps
  2. References
  3. Backburner Items

Rather than give you my interpretation of his thoughts, follow this link to a website that explains the Action Method as well as many other productivity enhancers.

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Here’s a list of life lessons. Have you learned all, or any, of them?

I recently read this list of 30 life lessons that the author wishes she had learned in school.

It’s a great list and as I reflected on some of the items it helped me to think about areas of my life that need improvement.

The idea of these things being taught in school brings me to my only criticism: if you’re talking about high school, most kids wouldn’t care. Not all, but most.

Some of these things should be taught at home, if your parents knew them. If not, extended family could help.

But most of these, in my opinion, are things that you pick up as you go along, refine as you use them and make them yours.

I hope you enjoy reading it and that you learn something, even if it’s that you need to learn more.

K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, sweetheart)

“Innovation is about solving people’s problems in a way that’s meaningful to them in the context of their lives. “

I like the way this guy thinks. Innovation is not always the new discovery; sometimes it is simply rearranging what you already have to better suit your needs.

Some folks seem bent on devising new products and techniques just because they can with hardly any real grasp of how it might actually benefit someone in their everyday life.

After reading this, I believe most folks would feel encouraged to become innovators, making simple things that simply make our lives easier.

Robots will soon take over. Here’s the undeniable proof.

“A robot hand developed by the University of Tokyo’s Ishikawa Oku Lab is reportedly so adept at the game rock, paper, scissors that it is unbeatable against a human opponent.”

I remember when a computer beat chess champ Gary Kasparov. I told myself, maybe Kasparov had an off day, too much of a good night beforehand. Something. Anything. But to admit a machine had defeated the best humans could offer in a contest of mental acuity was unfathomable. So I dismissed what it might mean.

I believe our time of reckoning has arrived.

Now that the supreme decision making method of all time has been conquered by a machine, it won’t be long until they have a representative in congress and then…the end.

It’s been nice knowing you, fellow human.

Here’s the link to the story at Gizmag.

Army shoots lightning down laser beams.

In what sounds like a bizarre episode of Strawberry Shortcake meets The Avengers, I read of the Army’s efforts to create just such a weapon.

It’s called a Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, or LIPC. Catchy, huh.

It could be used against (surprise) people and vehicles, but it could also be used to destroy unexploded ordinance. That could be a life and limb saver in war zones, something there is no shortage of.

Like most things, the weapon carries in itself it’s own greatest threat: it could destroy itself. But they’re working on that.

Here’s a link to the story at Gizmag.

An elephant never forgets.

Erwin, Tennessee, is a small village tucked into the picturesque Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. It has the distinction of being the site of the only public execution of an elephant. 

In 1916,  Mary, a trained performing animal, had killed her trainer. She was executed by hanging at the local train yard.

Erwin has some other distinctions. Here’s a link to Wikipedia.

Here’s the link to the article about Mary.

Finally! A use for a Prius.

The internet is full of people with opinions. This piece of the web is no different.

I’m sorry if you’re offended, but I think the Prius is butt ugly. 

I couldn’t think of a better way to say that. Again, sorry.

But it is not completely useless (anymore). Someone has made it into a platform for one of America’s favorite pasttimes: camping.

That’s right; you can now turn a small, slow and ugly road machine into a tent.

I wonder if the battery packs will power a reading light all night?

Here’s the article.

The sky is falling! Why yes, Chicken Little, it is!

What’s 45 feet long, 115 feet wide, weighs five tons and can fly for 36 hours, unless it crashes into a swamp in Maryland?

If you guessed a U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone, you are right.

Monday, June 11, 2012, an unmanned drone did indeed crash in a marsh near Salisbury, Maryland.

Evidently, it was a routine training flight from the Naval Air Station Patuxent River. I’ve got a different definition of routine, myself.

Lots of questions arise, but I’ll let you read the articles first hand and think up your own.

One big one I’ve got is when will these drones be used to observe us, if they’re not already?

Here’s the CNN story.

Here’s some info about the aircraft in general.

First, mosquitoes that can’t fly. Now, mosquitoes that heal.

“Last year, Prof. Anthony James announced that he and his colleagues had genetically altered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in a fashion that could drastically reduce their populations.

Basically, he genetically modified (GM) females to not have wings.

Now he’s come up with a way to cause the winged pests to develop immunities and pass them along, rather than just pass along pestilence.

Snazzy, huh?

Got to wonder, though, about the eventual outcome of messing around with things from the GM direction. I suppose we’re going to find out.

Here’s the story.

Put on your tin foil hats and check out this story of genetic modification (Lyme disease) gone awry.

Cured, by bacon.

This wonderful 10 minute video profiles the owner of Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Allan Benton. Based in Madisonville, Tennessee, Benton’s is a world-renowned producer of country hams and bacon.

Be warned: Do not watch this video if you are hungry or are considering converting to a vegetarian lifestyle.

 

Bon appetit.

Here’s the video.

Here’s Benton’s website.

Book Review:” Gracenomics”. Sounds Good. Comes Up Short.

Gracenomics: Gracenomics: Unleash the Power of Second Chance LivingGracenomics: Gracenomics: Unleash the Power of Second Chance Living by Mike Foster
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I’m sure the author means well, but going on and on about grace without mentioning the author of grace, Christ, is meaningless. It becomes just another self-help volume and offers no hope for life change.

I’m sure Mike Foster has seen his share of gaffs by the Christian community. I have, too, and I’ve been the instigator as well. But without knowing where life-changing grace comes from, I’m just trying to keep a set of laws, which is what grace from God through Jesus frees us from.

I was excited when I saw the trailer. I thought I might like to use this series for our small group meeting. I bought the Kindle version and started reading.I heard someone say once if you’re talking about salvation/ grace you better get to Jesus in the first couple minutes. This doesn’t, at all.

Maybe that’s not Mike Foster’s point. If that’s the case. good on him. Join hands and let’s sing We Are the World, cause that’s where this is headed.

Save your money. Read the gospels. Call your mom and tell her you’re glad for all she’s done for you.

View all my reviews

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Keeping it simple with this one. If you want to learn to write, read and heed.

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Two great truths: You’re not special. It’s not about you.

In a recent commencement speech at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts,  English teacher David McCullough, Jr. told the graduating class that “they were not special“.

His speech went on to let the kids know that although they were not special, they were, as our founders said, endowed with inalienable rights, including the pursuit of happiness.

I remember opening Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life and being surprised by the opening line: “It’s not about you”. 

In talking with His disciples about who would be greatest, Jesus cuts through the confusion and grounded his followers by telling them “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all”.

Self sacrifice, service to others, the pursuit of happiness. All qualities of a life well lived.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and can cost up to $940 million when it comes to knocking off a whole town.

For years, cheap imitation products from China have plagued purveyors of the original goods.

This imitation has been received with open arms by the residents of the original.

Yes, residents. 

Hallstatt in Upper Austria is one of the nation’s precious jewels. Nestled deep in the beautiful Northern Limestone Alps…
Chinese metals and mining company China Minmetals Corporation spent $940 million to build a replica of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed village that recently opened its doors to tourism.

Here’s the story.

Jesus encourages His followers to have faith. I feel like I come up short. Evidently, I’m in good company.

A couple months ago I was introduced to a blog called “300wordsaday.com

The posts have always been meaningful. Today’s especially so.

Without further ado, go here to be encouraged.

Water. Coffee. Time: Another installment in our delight of all things coffee.

Here’s a short video titled “This is Coffee”, sponsored by the Coffee Brewing Institute, circa 1961. (Run time 12:32)

Start your day with “warmth and vigor” in that “world that often forgets to stop”.

Sit your jittery self down, have a cup of java and watch this trip around the world that celebrates our favorite morning drink.
“In the romance of evening, when young dreams glow softly, coffee is always a perfect companion.”

Watch for the vacuum method. It looks a little dangerous. You’ll also see the “pour over” method used in one shot. Evidently it’s all the rage in coffee houses now.

Here’s a neat way to do it inexpensively at home.

The Muppets’ violent past. It’s good to see reform can actually work.

Before Jim Henson’s puppets  became famous through Sesame Street and various movies, his Muppet characters had a dark, seedy past. Between 1957 and 1961 Henson made a series of 10 second commercial spots for Wilkins, a coffee supplier with regional distribution in the Baltimore – D.C. area.

Drink our coffee, or else, was the basic message. These fairly violent short videos are delightful. I hope you enjoy them.

Or else…

I toured the White House. I didn’t see a glass ceiling.

Not that the present administration has a patent on hypocrisy, but they’re doing what they can to maintain the status quo (which, according to my uncle, is French for “the mess we’re in”).

Female employees in the Obama White House make considerably less than their male colleagues, records show.
According to the 2011 annual report on White House staff, female employees earned a median annual salary of $60,000, which was about 18 percent less than the median salary for male employees ($71,000).”

It’s sad to see such hypocrisy, but get ready to hear all manner of reports during this campaign season.

Here’s the story.

Bow to a Saudi prince; give assault rifles to drug lords in Mexico. Confusing foreign relations moves.

“The Mexican ambassador to the United States on Thursday said a botched gun-tracking operation by America “poisoned” public opinion of the United States for the citizens of its southern neighbor.”

Ya think?

Our  ATF (or somebody’s ATF) deals weapons to Mexican bad guys, our law enforcement and civilians are gunned down by these same weapons and we have an attorney general who developed early-onset Alzheimer’s about the whole affair.

This would make great reading- if only it was fiction and not news headlines.

Here’s another chapter in the story.

How much loyalty does $200 million buy? Not much

The other day I was talking to my grandson about loyalty. He said he didn’t understand what that was about.

Evidently, neither does Fisker Automotive, recipient of a taxpayer funded loan.

Fisker received federal funds in part to help purchase a shuttered General Motors plant in Delaware, where it predicted it would one day employ 2,000 auto workers …”

Well, now they’re hinting that they want to find someplace cheaper to build their (our) electric car.

Looks like the question isn’t how far can their electric car go, but where will it go?

Swedish for “weasel” ?

Here’s the story.

Art is where you find it. Maybe she was just expressing herself.

“No jail time for rubbing buttocks on $30M painting” was the headline. What?

“Carmen Tisch, 37, pleaded guilty earlier this month to felony criminal mischief for striking at and leaning against the oil-on-canvas painting “1957-J No. 2″ at the Clyfford Still Museum last year, the Denver District Attorney’s Office said.”

Evidently, this woman punched this painting, then scratched it, then pulled her pants down and then rubbed her butt on it. And then relieved herself on the floor.

Hmmm… maybe she needs to take an art appreciation course at the community college.

Then again, maybe she was just creating her own “2012-T No.1”.

Go here to read the rest of the story.

Beyond a shadow of doubt…

Remember making fanciful hand shadow creatures at night for entertainment. Was it last night?

It doesn’t matter. Look what happens when you expand the idea: it becomes art.

“I sculpt shadow with light or sometimes light with shadow, but both function in essentially the same manner. I take objects and carve and place them in relation to a single light source. The complete artwork is therefore comprised of both the material (the solid objects) and the immaterial (the light or shadow).”

The artist is Kumi Yamashita.

Go here to see a gallery of her work on the Demilked website.

Or here to her website.

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