Showing posts with label Local interest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Local interest. Show all posts

Friday, May 15, 2020

Of Wolves and Rocks (Part 4)


Even with the current world crisis, and the lack of things to do regardless of where you might go, it was great being able to stay in the Colorado Springs area to see the wolves at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.  It was also great to explore the Garden of the Gods for an afternoon.  That said, our original plans included a bit more.  There are still places to explore.  We'll be back.


Places we missed this time, that we'll try to do next time we are in the area:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Photos you post for businesses on Google...or really, one in particular that I posted...347K views

Several years ago, I posted a photo of a lunch that others from my work and I enjoyed at a rare find in New England: an actual Chinese restaurant (as opposed to "authentic" or "real" ones that are easy to find and even more easily disappoint).  The restaurant in question is Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica, Massachusetts (of all places).  The food was great.

Typically in New England, when you are given a food rating of spiciness, hot is actually medium. medium is actually mild, and mild somehow even more mild.  At Sichuan Gourmet, spicy dishes were actually spicy!  Hot was hot!  In fact, hot was very hot!

So, what's so special about the photo I posted from this restaurant?  For some reason, over 347,000 other people thought it was significant enough to view it.  This is surprizing for a few reasons.  First, it's amazing that Sichuan Gourmet is being searched and found on Google by hundreds of thousands of people in a place like Billerica.  Second, it's amazing that my photo is being found in a sea of dozens of other photos at this location.  Third, it's amazing that the number of people choosing my photo to view is 347,000+.



Since I don't know how to see view numbers for the other photos from this location, and I don't know if this is actually a lot for this location.  I have many other photos on Google for arguably much more popular places that only received a few views.  Some of my photos have 11K+, 22K+, 60K+, and even 73K+ views for a photo of perfume at a Banana Republic (which also baffles me).  From the rarity of these high counts, my guess is that even these numbers are fairly extraordinary, even at popular places.

Side note, Billerica is not pronounced bil-LER-i-cah, bil-LAIR-ri-cah or bil-le-RI-cah.  It's pronounced BIL-ric-a, with a bit of bitterness infused into each of the three syllables. This video should help.  (Yes, this is really a really thing.)
  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I know English is evolving when I hear these words in a courtroom

I was recently snared into Jury Duty in Massachusetts.  This isn't so much an article about that.  Instead, this is about something I noticed while listening to the case before me and my 5 other jurors; word choices.

The first interesting word was uttered by the Prosecutor quoting the defendant who was fighting a DUI charge. The Prosecutor stated that the defendant pleaded with the arresting officer to cut him a break because he was not cocked.  This word cocked was used in a mocking manner by the prosecutor several times in his opening and closing arguments.

The second word that stood out was spoken by the Defense attorney.  While questioning the arresting officer, the Defense attorney asked about the likelihood of something-or-another.  What caught my attention is that he used the prolly, instead of prob'ly or probably.  The use of this word in such a formal manner struck me, since the word is still considered by many to be of the mythically inferior not-a-word status.

The last spoken element I picked up on was the Judge's use of the idiom begging-the-question.  I've written about the idiom begging-the-question quite recently.  There are two official definitions for the idiom.  The traditional definition is based on a logical fallacy.  The modern definition is an alternative for raises-the-question; this was Judge's use that day.  It is interesting to note that both definitions appear in dictionaries now.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

The Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line Improvement Project

Getting into Boston by car isn't a horrible experience on the weekend. It is just really bad, and expensive to park. So, travelling into Boston is often best by mass transit. However, when trying to casually plan a journey into Boston today, I discovered that they shut down the only commuter line in my area of the state, the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line.

Trying to get into North Boston from the Highway 2 corridor using mass transit is impossible while the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line is shut down for maintenance until late November 2014. ‎MBTA‬ didn't even setup replacement bus service to replace the rail line. There was already 1 to 3 hour intervals between trains. Seriously, how hard would it be to have a limited bus service on a similar schedule to those stations?

Thank you to the MBTA for thinking about your riders؟

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Amazon.com's double-whammy for Massachusetts comes in one more day (Nov 1)

Whammy #1

Despite the illegality of applying a state tax (of any kind) to an interstate purchase (in direct violation of U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause found at Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3), Amazon.com has capitulated to Massachusetts' harassment.  As of November 1, 2013, Amazon.com will begin collecting the state's sales tax on purchases sold by Amazon.com.  This does not include third party vendors which sell their product through Amazon.com's website, who are responsible to handle their own taxation (if any).

The problem I have with this is that is really is illegal.  Until such a time that Congress actually passes a law granting states the authority to apply their intrastate taxes to interstate sales, these states are in willful violation of our Constitution.  There are exceptions this that have been allowed by Federal Courts, but Amazon.com (nor most online retailers) does not have a business that operates in such as way as to fall under these exceptions.  Besides that, there are ambiguities that Congress needs to resolve.  Allowing taxation of purchases that do not originate within the state may be an open door for states to outright tax purchases that have no origin or destination within their own territory, but are rather just passing through.

There are a lot of nonsensical justifications for taxation of interstate sales, and there are a lot of good reasons to not allow such taxation.   I would go into detail here as to why, but I've actually covered this pretty well in a previous article about California's similar attempts to harass Amazon.com and other online retailers.

Whammy #2

Not quit as annoying, but still bothersome is that last week Amazon.com raised their minimum purchase for free shipping.  Instead of the $25 threshold, the minimum purchase for free shipping is now $35.  What does this mean for most casual shoppers who don't buy into the Amazon Prime plan?  There may be some short term gain in sales from customers who are not aware of the change and planned on making immediate purchase.  But over the long run, my guess is that many will wait longer between purchases rather that purchase more each time.