this and that


I'd seen this building countless times over the past 25 years and always wondered what its story was

I'd seen this building countless times over the past 25 years and always wondered what its story was

Sad to see another landmark go ?

It s gone. The main hangar on what became Detroit Metro Airport was an iconic building–designed for the future of aviation, built at a time of relentless optimism in the nation s newest technology and with a belief that the appearance of public buildings should reflect they dynamism of those who created them.


7 years old today!

Seven years ago today I published the very first post on this blog. Since then I’ve become a full-time professional writer working at various times as a journalist and a PR flack. These days I publish most of my stuff through Google Plus because I have a bigger audience over there.

Fortunately Google doesn’t mind users pulling their data out so I use Daniel Treadwell’s Google+ plugin for WordPress to automatically pull all of the content from G+ and cross-post it here. It’s been a fun ride and I’ll continue to use this venue to share my random thoughts for the foreseeable future.


All things great and small set to scale 2

In the grand scheme of things, what we do here on our little blue ball doesn't really amount to a hill of beans.

Reshared post from +Erin Fors

This. Is. Bad. Ass. The scale of the universe. Check it. http://images.4channel.org/f/src/589217_scale_of_universe_enhanced.swf

Embedded Link

http://images.4channel.org/f/src/589217_scale_of_universe_enhanced.swf

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Fascinating to watch!

Fascinating to watch!

Reshared post from +Google Earth

This Google Earth animation of the Costa Concordia wreck (by Peter Olsen) is a pretty impressive example of Google Earth's advanced touring capabilities (and 3D modeling)!

Learn more about how the tour was made on this great recap post from the +Google Earth Blog (http://goo.gl/NsCvx) and then download the tour for yourself (http://goo.gl/ivdYv) to dig deeper in Google Earth.

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The uncanny valley and racism

This week’s edition of On the Media features a segment discussing the concept of the “the uncanny valley.” The idea is that if you have a representation of a human that is 50, 60 or even 95 percent correct, people will have no problem recognizing that image as non-human and accepting it.

However, as you get closer to 100 percent, the brain crosses a threshold where the image suddenly shifts from being a representation to something akin to a human with something wrong with it.  This is most commonly manifested in modern computer generated graphics. That’s why you can watch something like Avatar, Shreck or Up with no problem. The alien or cartoonish characters are clearly not human. However, when you look at Polar Express, the characters look downright creepy with their dead eyes.  This is a movie that falls into the valley.

Most people think about the uncanny valley in terms of technology and how to avoid it. However, it says much more about the human brain and how we perceive the visual inputs that we get.  We see something and process it and if it doesn’t meet our expectations we recoil from it. Is this what drives racism? Do we see someone with a slightly different skin tone or nose shape or height and think that they are “broken”? Obviously we can tell that these people are alive and yet it seems that the way we respond is not so very different from the way we recoil in fear or disgust from the artificial characters in video games or movies.

Is it possible that the solution to problem of the uncanny valley is not and should not be with changing technology but rather with understanding ourselves and making changes within?


Google saves the day again

As I went downstairs this afternoon to throw some laundry in the washer, I was distressed to find a large quantity of water at the foot of the steps. After doing some diagnosis I found that it was not the sewer backing up again but rather the washer itself that was the source. A quick search of google led me to a tear-down manual for the this particular machine and RepairClinic.com. Apparently the housing of the drain pump is not supposed to have a large gash in the housing where an impeller with a bad bearing had worn through it. If this phenomena does occur, there is a good chance that the washer will spew water all over your floor.

RepairClinic had the part I needed in stock and less than two hours after discovering the water, the washer was doing a fresh load with nothing leaking out. Now if only I could afford to pay myself what a repair tech would have charged to fix the same problem I’d be all set.