Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Pay it to Payphones or don't

So, I went down a short rabbit hole when I saw a payphone in a movie review for Secret Obsession.  The movie is really bad, in my opinion.  I tried to watch, but had to stop.  This movie review does a good job at explaining why:


The movie shows the protagonist stopping to use a payphone to call 911.  Unfortunately, she didn't have change (coins) or phone card.   There's a problem with this scene.  I tweeted this, thinking that was all I was going to do:

That wasn't the end of it, though.  I remembered that there's still some payphones in service, so I looked it up.  That's when I ran into the fact that there's still over 100K payphones in the US, and that each payphone can still earn a profit with as few as three 50¢ calls per day.

Was that the end?  No.  I remembered that I somehow ended up at the movie theater to see Phone Booth back in 2003.  It's about this guy of questionable morals who is trapped in a phone booth by a sniper out to prove a point.  The guy is played by Colin Farrell.  The movie was made near the end of the payphone era.  Had this movie come out just a few years later, it would've already been too dated for people to relate to it.

So, that brings me back to start.  Secret Obsession was released in 2019.  The entire plot is built upon the conflict that starts with the main character who gets out of her car while being chased to run to a payphone in a phone booth to call 911 (emergency services in the US).  She doesn't have change, so the phone doesn't work.  It's 2019.  Why doesn't she have a cellphone?  Even if that option was somehow not available, all payphones in the US allow 911 calls without payment, as noted in my tweet (and the movie review shown above).  For who was this movie made?  ...in 2019?

Friday, February 12, 2021

Recent news tour of our Solar System from Mercury to FarFarOut

Some recent news tour of our Solar System:




Sunday, February 07, 2021

Friday, January 29, 2021

How to find your US representatives and tweet them

Twitter is a fact of life in politics these days in USA.  Fortunately, that gives us an opportunity to contact our representatives on an open platform in a manner that is sorta like an open letter, with a limit of 240 characters.  Contacting your representatives at both the state and federal level is fairly easy, and can even be grouped together into one tweet.  The information below is meant for both experienced users (who can skip over comments on how to tweet) and new users.

All you need is a Twitter account and the Twitter handles of your representatives.

Once you have a Twitter account, get the names of your representatives.  

  • For your representative in the US House of Representatives, goto the Find Your Representative website. 
  • For your representatives in the US Senate, goto the Senate state map and click on your state.
  • For your representatives within your state, do a Google search for "find my legislator [your state here]", without the quotes and replacing "[you state here]" with the state in which you live.  One of the first two links in the search results should get you to the websites to find both your local state Representative and Senator.  Although this step is optional, it is still important to let the political parties know at all levels where the people stand.
Once you have the names of your representatives, do a Google search for each person's Twitter account using the search phrase "official twitter account [representative's first and last name] [your state, if applicable]", again without the quotes and replace "[representative's first and last name]" with your representative's first and last name.  If the representative is at the state level, be sure to add your state to the end.  You'll have to do this once for each person.  



Typically, the first item in the search results will give you the link to the person's Twitter account profile page.  Look for the @ tag.  This is their Twitter handle.  In my case, one of my US Senators Twitter handle is @Hickenlooper.  


Don't worry if one or more of your representatives are not members of your political party.  That doesn't matter for this activity.

Create your tweet within the Twitter App or website.  Keep the statement simple, clear and to-the-point.  Brevity is important since your tweet is limited to 240 characters, and a portion of that limit will be consumed by your representatives' Twitter handles.

Here's an example:

The message is simple, short but contains enough information to get the point across.  In your tweet, you can add more detail until you reach 240 character limit.  Once you post your tweet, you cannot edit it.  If you find a typo or wish to change it, you'll need to delete your tweet and create a new tweet.

If you already have a well established Twitter account with a number of followers, then receiving likes and retweets by your followers will help bring attention to your tweet.

Happy grassrooting


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Bitcoin (cryptocurrency) Mining in Iran causes blackouts and smog?

2021, things will get better, right?  Well...  

In a strange dystopian twist last week, a story has been developing in Iran.  Massive power disruptions have been sweeping across Iran.  Apparently this has been an issue since January 13.  At the time, the cause was unclear, as reported by GardWorld.  

The dystopia is worse.  Due to the demand on power over the past month, power plants in Iran have been forced to switch over to burning low-grade fuels oil, causing massive "toxic" smog around the capital city, as reported by Bloomberg.  Other reports about increased smog go back to January 3.

Here's what makes the whole thing even more surreal.  According to Iranian officials, a major contributing factor (in addition to the unusually cold winter) is apparently illegal cryptocurrency mining operations, as reported by the Washington Post.  However, this is may not be a major cause, as cryptocurrency miners state their operations have nothing to do with the current power crisis.

Iran reportedly cracked down on cryptocurrency mining operations on Sunday by confiscating 45K machines.  Supposedly, these machines were consuming 95 megawatts per hour, while paying a reduced rate on the electricity.   However, the crackdown may not be about power consumption, as other reports suggest power consumed in cryptocurrency mining has only a minor role in Iran's current power crisis, as reported by coindesk.  In July 2020, "Iran penned a registration directive forcing [cryptocurrency] miners to disclose their identities" and "the size of their mining farms".  

Friday, January 15, 2021

Deadly Decoy in CSGO

 

Sometimes, just sometimes, it's a bad idea to ignore a decoy in CounterStrike: Global Offensive (CSGO)

Saturday, January 09, 2021

G8 SF Bay Area Meet Jan 10th 2009, 12 years ago

 

#TBT Pontiac G8 and GTO cruise 2009, stopped  for lunch at the crossroad of Woodside and Skyline at Alice' s Restaurant.

The road you didn't take because of a lie

I thought of writing about Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken because many (most?) people misinterpret it.  Well, Today I Found Out covered the topic so well, there's no sense in my writing about the poem's meaning.  Please enjoy their video:


The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference..

Friday, December 25, 2020

Do And Die, not Do or Die - common misquote

The poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson called The Charge of the Light Brigade is often misquoted.  Lines 14 and 15 are commonly verbalize as "Ours is not to ask why, but to do or die", or something similar.  The key here is that a choice is present; "do or die".  In other words, we follow our orders or be will held accountable.  Or perhaps, do or die trying.

However, within the actual poem (below), such a choice never is present.  The lines are actually "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die".  The soldiers of the poem never question their order, even though the order is clearly erroneous.  For these soldiers, these six hundred brigaders, a choice is never even in their thoughts.  They would ride headlong into cannon fire, being cut to pieces, while knowing there was no hope of success nor life afterwards.  

When one applies this poem to one's own situation, the phrase "do and die" is far more powerful, potent and critical.  No choice is available, even though the required action surely leads to failure.  In this regard, one might be unintentionally critiquing their orders as folly.

Of course, the poem is poetic. Though the poem does mention some survivors, it romanticizes the sacrifice of the brigade on the whole.  In reality, many of the soldiers survived.  Further, history has characterised the order to charge as a misunderstanding or miscommunication.  However, the order being a mistake of some sort is not undermined by the fact that some brigaders survived.  The Light Brigade was decimated in their charge of the cannons, and that decimation was obviously inevitable. 

The Charge of the Light Brigade

                    I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                    II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
   Someone had blundered.
   Theirs not to make reply,
   Theirs not to reason why,
   Theirs but to do and die.
   Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

                  III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
   Rode the six hundred.

                   IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
   All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right through the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
   Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
   Not the six hundred.

                    V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
   Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
   Left of six hundred.

                   VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
   All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
   Noble six hundred!

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Just saw yet another shooting star

In a strange coincidence, I've seen another shooting start last night as I walked out to my backyard. I looked up, and there it was.  This one was different than the previous sighting a couple of weeks ago.  The sky was perfectly clear.  This shooting star was just a point of light that streaked across the sky, but with no tail.  I noticed it just as it lit up.  It got brighter as it moved Westward until it dimmed a second or so later.  Similar to the previous shooting star, it moved East in a Westerly direction.

The Geminid meteor showers will happen in a week or so.  Maybe these early shooting stars are their vanguard.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Lunch today


There was an attempt to get In-N-Out Burger on a whim at the new location in Aurora. 2.5hr wait from this spot. A spontaneous decision to see if we could get In-N-Out today turned into a long discussion about if we should. In-N-Out is good, but we're too hungry. Another day. 

 
So, we ended up at La Sandia in Stapleton for a delicious lunch of Mexican cuisine.