Friday, September 16, 2016

Bad Joke Of The Day

This email just came through to me. Found it amusing and thought I'd share.

"On this week's premiere of "Dancing With the Stars," two men rushed the stage as Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte received his scores. Security stopped them within about 10 seconds, or as Lochte put it, "They kidnapped me, put a gun to my head, and dropped me off at the Grand Canyon!" - Jimmy Fallon, "The Tonight Show"

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Belated Happy 50th Birthday to Star Trek

So, today is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek's premier back in 1966. I have no memory of life without Star Trek because, well, there wasn't a life before Star Trek...for me at least. My 50th anniversary of being ex post utero isn't for a few more weeks. So, Star Trek has been not just part, but a significant, perhaps the most significant part of my entire memory.
One of my earliest memories is watching the Apollo 11 lunar landing on TV. From that moment on, I was a space nut. All things space, then aircraft delighted me.
With that, my father loved Star Trek. When the programming gods deemed it appropriate to beam the show, our tv was turned to it. Pretty much without fail. Though MASH was a close second.
I don't remember a first episode. Star Trek was always there. After falling in love with space, though, I would plop down when my dad had the show on. Trying to be non-obtrusive.
Getting older, I connected more and more with the show. The cartoon show helped, but only some. Even the passion that erupted in me for Star Wars didn't dilute Star Trek. Maybe pushed it to the back for a spell. Battlestar Gallactica, Buck Rogers, no other show displaced it. I remember being asked, when I worked at Microsoft, "Star Wars or Star Trek". I, in my style, answered "behold my gom jabbar!" I refused to choose one element of sci-fi geekdom. I love them all. But Trek has been there the longest.
After movies, Next Generations, Deep Space stations, journeys of the Enterprise and voyages with Voyager, my delight with the now universe of Star Trek grew deeper and richer. I adore them all.
Science Fiction forms the core of my personal mythology. Both Star Wars and Star Trek exist within the core, the deepest kernel. Delighting in the Jedi way, but also dreaming of attending the Vulcan Science Academy. Deep challenges will always be Kobaysi Maru, and not Jedi Trials.
So, a thanks to Mr. Roddenberry for bringing this whole thing to life. Also, the cast and crew of TOS, and all that followed. My life is unimaginable without you.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some thoughts on "Serious academics take the media seriously"

I found this post over at Small Pond Science fascinating. As a fan of science, if not a scientist, and deeply interested in social media's presence in our society, Terry's McGlynn's post is very relevant. Terry calls out an anonymous article over at The Guardian basically dismissing efforts by scientists to engage with their work in the world of Facebook & Twitter.

I, for one, think there's great value in the public debate. Not everything on social media is fluff. And, if it's to be taken seriously, we need to encourage more, not less engagement by scholars online.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Olympics, costs and benefits

Though I love the Olympics, the institution faves a major problem. The massive costs of hosting a Games almost never balance out against benefits.

This article considers the financial impacts upon cities which host the Olympics.

A fitting postscript to my post yesterday.

After considering such details as infrastructure investment, marketing and meeting the expectations of the International Olympic Committee, most often the Games cost more than they earn. In some cases the loss is massive.

My first thought: the IOC must start considering the long-term impact. With that, they must seek to mitigate the effects of over-enthusiastic boosters. They struggle with a perception of boondoggle. Several cities' citizens shut down bids for games.

I feel it important to note that LA actually pulled s profit from the games. Utilizing their existing infrastructure, the cost control worked nicely. The article actually notes several hosts who successfully navigated development and execution. Key considerations for anyone desiring to host a Games.

I see an Olympics as several months of headache with little upside. Most of the promised benefits never materialize. I'm not alone. Seattle's few attempts to garner support to bid to host a Games failed miserably. And that's happened elsewhere, too.

Anyone wanting a Games near me must account for this study before I give my support. And I love the Olympics.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Abandoned Olympic Venues

I adore the Olympics. Pageantry and drama, magical moments brought out by ages dedication, training and sacrifice. I love stories of humanity resisting adversity. None better exist.
Counterbalancing this, images of waste, neglect, rotting decay. These images tell another story of the Olympics. A sadder story.

Often hosting the Games gets presented as this transformative event. Great economic rewards heralded. I wonder how often such manifests. How much positive actually happens, and how much of the investment crumbles into dust.