Cosmic Error

After reading the dozen tweets from Neil deGrasse Tyson regarding the accuracy of the movie Gravity, I would like to point out a glaring inaccuracy in the title sequence of the television series Cosmos. Even if you could travel faster than the speed of light through the cosmos the stars wouldn’t appear to move relative to one another.  At most you would be able to see one star in the center fly at you as you passed next to it as the rest of the cosmos appeared static. Star Wars and Star Trek are also guilty of this mistake, but I have been unable to reach George Lucas and J.J. Abrams to rectify the problem. Also, they are fictional stories.

Despite this slight issue with the show I would like compliment Mr. Tyson on doing a great job promoting scientific principles to the world at large.

Omar Lutfey

newfunny.com

Turning 40

So I finished turning 40 on Thursday. The biggest difference I’ve noticed is that when I deliver packages in the trailer park the trampy women aren’t throwing themselves at me like they did when I was 39 earlier in the week.

Wind of Change

So as of this Saturday I’ve officially been a full time package driver at United Parcel Service for 10 years. Only another 10 or 20 years left until I can retire and start drawing my pension. Too bad I didn’t start at UPS earlier.

Also, I’ve come to the realization that I only have 12 more days to earn myself a Field Metal for Mathematical achievement. Apparently once you turn 40 you are no longer eligible for the award. I’ll have to think of a simple polynomial time solution for the “traveling salesman problem” while I’m at work this week. Or as I like to think of it, “the UPS driver wants to get home before his kids go to bed dilemma.”

Bright Eyes

Delivering packages at the mall is making me feel old. I was at Sephora this week when one of the girls asked if I would get mad if she moved by me as I was unloading packages.  I replied that I was “living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.” None of the three girls in the room understood what I was saying even when I clarified that it was a lyric from Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Still nothing. So next I went to the eye center and explained what just happened and none of them knew what I was talking about until one girl piped up and said “I think I heard that song on American Idol.” I guess that’s something. I was going to make a reference to the song “Glory Days” but I didn’t feel like explaining to everyone about Bruce Springsteen.

Quirky 2

So I was playing around on my computer last night and I submitted another idea I’ve been kicking around in my head for the past few months. I don’t have anywhere near the time and effort into this idea as my remote control stuff, but I still think it has a lot of potential. Feel free to vote on it on their website if you like the idea:

http://www.quirky.com/invent/897238/

Football Camera

A camera in both pointy ends of a football lets everyone see the game from a new perspective.

The Problem

Nobody can see the game from the football’s point of view.

The Solution

Two small cameras are a placed at both ends of a football. These cameras broadcast over wi-fi to nearby computers, authorized cell phones, and even directly to the internet without getting in the way of the game. Software would automatically “un-spin” the view when the ball is thrown for a smooth bird’s eye view from both ends of the ball.

Random Post: Relationship Tip #57

If you are dating a woman and are considering “taking things to the next level” (such as spending the rest of your lives together or lending her your spare grocery store rewards card) I would highly recommend that you do a little bit of research on the Internet and check out how she fares in the “88 Lines About 44 Women” song. When Katherine and I started dating I discovered the following about her:

Well, Rhonda had a house in Venice, lived on brown rice and cocaine.
Patty had a house in Houston, shot cough syrup in her veins.
Linda thought her life was empty, filled it up with alcohol.
Katherine was much too pretty, she didn’t do that shit at all.
Uh uh, not Katherine.

Given that very positive review we ended up getting married and having two wonderful kids together.  So make sure to do your homework before taking the plunge. That, and make sure to stay away from Dinah– I’m pretty sure she isn’t anyone’s type.

Random Post: Tick, tick, tick, tick….

Photograph sharing website Instagram created an uproar after announcing sweeping changes to their terms of service.  The wave of negative publicity has forced the company to change their plans, with one high ranking company official stating off the record that “this ranks up there with one of the most blatant abuses of technology since CBS started broadcasting ’60 Minutes’ in high definition.”

 

Random Post: How Computers Work: Part 3

Part two of this series left off with the ancient computational tool known as the abacus. From there we fast forward through history to the nineteenth century. Sure, a lot of important things happened in that time frame, but none of it was really central to the advancement of the computer. Most of that time was spent fighting each other, fighting off the plague, and fighting over how much it should cost to paint the ceilings in prestigious religious establishments.

These events are part of what is known as the “Dark Ages.” Despite the fact that on average the amount of sunlight the planet received had not changed, the people on the planet were depressed, wore dark clothes and sunglasses all the time, and didn’t spend a lot of time learning the ways of the abacus. In more informal situations, many historians refer to the period of human development as the “pimply moody teenage years.” This situation did very little to stimulate the creative juices of the general population.

The next major advancement in the area of computational machinery came in the late 1800s in a rather unlikely form. No, I’m not talking about evil alien time traveling robot monkeys who ruthlessly scavenge the planet for shiny pieces of scrap metal. At the time of this writing the monkeys in question have only achieved limited success in building their time machine. The piece of equipment to which I’m referring relates to, of course, the textile industry.

At this point in time many nations of the world were busy building expansive factories and cutting down vast forest lands to keep the factories up and running. A few individuals focused their time and attention to making the world a better place to live. Despite the dark ages being over for the most part, being optimistic and proactive was not very fashionable at the time. Even so, some of these people voiced the opinion that cutting down the forests and building factories that polluted the air wasn’t very good for the planet. Oddly enough, these people tended to die in unfortunate industrial accidents such as falling into smoke stacks or having large trees fall on their house in the middle of the night.

A few slightly less radical individuals got together and decided the world might be a better place to live in if instead of producing endless quantities of drab colored fabric, the textile factories made blankets with images of cute little bunny rabbits woven into the cloth. After looking into the situation, they discovered it was quite simple to produce fabric made of a single color, and quite difficult to integrate mammals into the design.

To solve this problem, they designed a revolutionary new weaving loom that used a special series of cards with holes in various positions. The individual strings on the loom would be positioned based on whether there was a hole in the punch card at that location. A series of these cards allowed for intricate designs to be produced with little additional effort. The guy operating the machine does not need to know the exact details of why there are random looking holes in the punch cards. They just slide the “bunny rabbit” cards into the machine until enough fabric has been produced. Then they can quickly stop the machine and put in a different pattern, such as “evil monkey robots.”

For various reasons this device was never a wide spread commercial success. In addition to being bulky and expensive, whenever any of the two dozen delicate threads feeding into the machine broke, the blanket produced was totally solid with the exception of a message in the exact center that would read “an unknown error has occurred at location 57EE:009B” along with a special 1-800 number and web address to contact for further assistance. Since neither the telephone nor the Internet had been invented yet, the technical support department had quite a bit of free time to pursue other activities such as creating loom patterns that produced wildly inappropriate images of the high ranking political figures of their day.

While this may seem like a small technological advancement, this new design allowed for information to be stored on punch cards and used on different machines. The designers probably didn’t know it at the time, but a hundred years into the future this concept would be used as a fundamental component of modern day computers.

This completes another installment on how computers work. So tonight when you crawl into your bed with your special Mr. Honey Bunny blanket, you can sleep a little easier knowing how it came to be. And don’t worry too much about the evil alien robot monkeys. The odds of them suddenly materializing in your bedroom are rather slim. But on the off chance they do launch an offensive attack, don’t let them see that new sliver filling on your back molar.

Random Post: Eye of the Tiger

Recently unemployed actor Charlie Sheen announced plans for a stand-up tour in Chicago and Detroit.  ”Tickets will be free,” explains Sheen, “But before the show we will pass around collection plates.  Once I get at least two million dollars, then I’ll start the show.”

Black Remote Update

I don’t spend too much time talking about my remote control patent mostly because there isn’t much humor in United States patents named “Electronic Control Conservation Devices.”  My idea is a remote control cradle that completely shuts off power to a home entertainment system. When the remote is placed in the cradle power to the home entertainment system is shut off. Removing the remote from the cradle restores power to the system.  Here is an early prototype:

remote_offremote_on

I’ve submitted the idea to the website quirky.com.  If I can get 200 votes for it in the next 30 days they will consider producing it. I’ve already gotten 5 people to vote for it at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night.  If you would like to see this on the shelves at your local stores please vote for it at the following link:

http://www.quirky.com/invent/856228

Thanks!

Two for T

I decided last night that when one person is in bed laying on their back and the other person is snuggled up on their side it is called “T-spooning.” Kat’s thoughts on my revelation- “Go to sleep already!”