Categories
life

Going Out Again

It’s been two weeks since my second shot and the other night a few friends and I went out for a drink together. We went INSIDE the establishment! It actually felt a little bit awkward wearing our masks in around all the mostly full tables as the patrons imbibed but it felt natural to drop the mask and for that night anyway, as far as we were concerned the pandemic is over.

Of course it’s not over, but that first taste of normalcy felt great.

Categories
Miscellaneous

Lobster Diver Swallowed by a Whale

Michael Packard, the Lobster diver that found himself in the mouth of a whale did a Reddit Ask Me Anything:

I’m a lobster diver who recently survived being inside of a whale. AMA! from IAmA

He also survived a small plane crash and another time found a human body while diving.

Categories
Apple

WWDC 2021

Apple hosted its World Wide Developer’s Conference (day 1) today. As much as I think a career in coding would have been good for me, I really only dabble as an amateur programmer. Nevertheless I love the keynote.

Here’s the summary video from Day 1:

Categories
pandemic

Maxinated

I got my second shot of COVID-19 vaccine just 10 minutes ago. I signed up for the Pfizer mRNA vaccine but they said all they had was Moderna so that’s what I got.

Categories
Science

What Would You Do with an Extra Thumb?

According to a new study led by UCL researchers, robotic third thumb use can alter brain representation of the hand.

The team trained people to use a robotic extra thumb and found they could effectively carry out dextrous tasks, like building a tower of blocks, with one hand (now with two thumbs). The researchers report in the journal Science Robotics that participants trained to use the thumb also increasingly felt like it was a part of their body.

[…]

Before and after the training, the researchers scanned participants’ brains using fMRI, while the participants were moving their fingers individually (they were not wearing the Thumb while in the scanner). The researchers found subtle but significant changes to how the hand that had been augmented with the Third Thumb (but not the other hand) was represented in the brain’s sensorimotor cortex. In our brains, each finger is represented distinctly from the others; among the study participants, the brain activity pattern corresponding to each individual finger became more similar (less distinct).

A week later, some of the participants were scanned again, and the changes in their brain’s hand area had subsided, suggesting the changes might not be long-term, although more research is needed to confirm this.

It wpuld be interesting to see if such a device actually made everyday life easier.

Categories
Disney documentary

Remain Seated Please

Remain Seated Please is a short documentary about a couple of Disney super-fans who illicitly explore every nook and cranny of the Walt Disney World ride Horizons. It’s more suspenseful and touching than I anticipated.

(via Waxy)

Categories
crime

Scam the Scammers; Get 10,000 Yen

One of the things I appreciated when I travelled to Japan was that it is largely a country of law and order but like any country, there are still pockets of crime that need to be addressed. I like this news story from Casey Baseel, writing for SoraNews24 about how the police in Japan are going after scammers that prey on the elderly:

On May 1, the Minami Precinct of the Aichi Prefectural Police, which serves and protects the city of Nagoya’s Minami Ward, launched a new aspect of Operation Pretend to Be Fooled. This new crime-fighting program asks people who’ve been contacted by someone claiming to be a loved one in need of cash to notify the police, then work with them to draw the scammer out. For each case in which their cooperation leads to the identification of scammers, the original target of the scam will be paid 10,000 yen (US$97).

It would make a great documentary following these take-downs.

(via Daring Fireball)

Categories
Google

RSS is Dead. Long Live RSS!

Google Reader’s uncermonious dismantling has long been the beginning of my loss of faith in Google as a “do no evil” company. This TechCrunch article, “Google revives RSS” is disturbing on many levels. For one thing, RSS is not dead despite Google’s multiple attempts to kill it. For another, Google has shown over and over again, it can’t be trusted not to ditch any product that isn’t bringing in boatloads of cash.

Dave Winer:

Google did so much damage to RSS, the thought of them “reviving” it is analogous to Exxon reviving the site of some huge oil spill, one that they didn’t contribute to cleaning up. Even worse, browser vendors have no place trying to provide the user interface for RSS. Another toxic dump site. If Google wants to help RSS, great — here’s how. Do the subscribe button, that’s a good thing. But the result should be a dynamic OPML subscription list, that the user can provide to any reader app they want. It’s dynamic in that the contents can change, and the readers should periodically check to see if feeds have been added or removed. This way, if someday Google abandons RSS, again, everything can keep on ticking, more or less. Inviting users to rely on them shows that they have no sense of responsibility for the trust they betrayed in the past.

Hurray for supporting RSS but it’s not dead and it certainly won’t be after Google decides to drop it once again.

Categories
article

Osama Bin Laden Brought to Justice: An Oral History

I’ve only been to New York City once1 but this was pre 9/11 and so I was lucky enough to see the World Trade Center buildings while one still could.

New York (1997)

Because of that trip though, the attacks on September 11, 2001 resonated on a more personal level. It was a place I had been inside. I didn’t know anyone that died but I know people that do.

My brother called moments after the second plane crashed and when I found out, I instantly jumped out of bed and glued myself to CNN for the rest of the day.

This blog didn’t exist then and I always felt bad that I never wrote anything about how I felt that day nor how I felt when the successful raid on Bin Laden’s compound was announced. Perhaps someday I’ll put some thoughts down about it but for right now, I just want to recommend the fascinating retrospective put together by Politico about the time before and after the raid in Abbottabad — as told from the people who were involved. It’s a long and intensely worthwhile read.

Osama Bin Laden’s Death — a White House Oral History.

(via One Foot Tsunami)


1. Not including a quick stop at the airport on my trip to Israel.

Categories
pandemic

Do Your Own Research

By now you’ve likely heard the recommendation to do your own research about whether or not to get vaccinated for Covid-19.

This short video is full of good advice:

Here’s a brand new one about protecting yourself from vaccine shedders: