Tag Archive: Translator Catalog

Oct 27 2010

Olbermann just did Something Exceptional 20101026

I have always been pretty much a fan of Keith Olbermann.  He has good views and applies logic to his subject matter.  But he outdid himself tonight, and I am NOT being sarcastic.

If you look at the Wingnut Channel, everything is just a very narrow slant on politics and some country music, now and then.  Olbermann just transcended all of that, and the rerun is playing right now.  I hope to finish this short post fast enough so that you can tune into it.

Oct 25 2010

Pique the Geek 20101024: Essential Elements: Mercury

Most people think of mercury as nothing but a toxic nuisance.  Actually, that is far from the truth.  While mercury is toxic in many situations, modern life as we know it would be essentially impossible without that element.  It is also a material known from antiquity, and has drawn the interest of learned folks since then.

Mercury is unique in that it is the only metal to be a liquid at room temperature.  Actually, it is liquid from around minus 39 degrees Celsius to around 360, so it has a almost a 400 hundred degree liquid phase.  That is also sort of odd, since many metals have much longer liquid ranges.

Let us investigate this unique material, and see how it impacts our lives.  You might be surprised.

Oct 23 2010

Popular Culture 20101022. Really Bad TeeVee Adverts

Most of you know that I try to keep in touch with popular culture.  Also, many of you know that I appreciate a good advert.  I also really dislike what I perceive to be bad ones, that this week there were a lot of them.

Now, I recognize that adverts are essential to keep the cost of mass communication low, so I welcome any and all of them.  Welcoming them does not mean that I have to LIKE all of them.  Tonight we shall take a look of some of the worst that are currently circulating.

Note:  I would have covered the brilliant King Crimson tonight, but as I researched that band, it became obvious that more time would be required.  I think that I can be ready to do it next time.

Oct 19 2010

Fantasy Fun 20101018: Let’s Have Dinner Together

Well, not you and me particularly, but with some historical figures.  This was sort of spurred by Keith Olbermann’s story about Michele Bachmann’s list of people with whom she would like to have dinner.  I could not imagine a dinner with only six to eight folks, including me, wherein I could meet everyone that I would want, so I have set up a series of dinners with diverse groups of folks that I would love to get to know.  By the way, K.O. will be in a future installment if there is enough interest in this series.

Tonight’s installment will include a dinner with physicists (or their historical counterparts) that are both living and dead.  Here are my rules:  1) I am not personally acquainted with anyone mentioned (a chance meeting, like on a flight does not count), 2) within certain limits, only a maximum of eight people can attend.  More than that would make highly interactive conversation difficult, and 3) there is no language barrier.

Oct 18 2010

Pique the Geek 20101017: Concrete, the Wonder Material

Most people never give concrete a second thought.  This is a mistake.  Concrete is one of the most versatile and widely used building materials known, and it has been known for a long time.  Concrete like materials have been unearthed in ancient Egypt, and the Romans made extensive use of it.  Concrete structures over 2000 years old are still in use today.

Roman concrete is very different than modern concrete, and it did not weather well.  Thus, Roman structures were often faced with stone or brick to increase durability.  This defect has been overcome with modern materials and production techniques.

Oct 16 2010

Popular Culture 20101015. The Who. A Quick One While He’s Away

It seems that I get the most response from this series, which I enjoy writing immensely.  However, entertainment is sort of trivial compared to science, so I urge everyone to read the series about science and technology that I post on Sunday evenings, Pique the Geek.  No matter.  The Who are one the most important bands to release music, and I am glad to write about them.

I suspect that many of you will not recognize this excellent piece of music, since it was first released in 1966, before The Who became a sensation with the release of Tommy in 1969.  However, Pete Townshend always called it the parent of Tommy, and I think that it is just wonderful.

To make my point about how much influence that The Who have had in popular music, I have included several covers that many consider to be important bands these days.  Many of those are good, but no one could do it better than The Who did in the day, or even later.  In case you do not know, I will give you a lineup of the band from the first video.

Oct 15 2010

American Family Association 20101015. An Association of Bigots

I have often posted at the Big Orange about how evil the American Family Association is.  They are pretty much summed up as a bunch of bigots, and I had electronic mail with their current president, Tim Wildmon, many years ago that just solidified that thought.

He is a bigot, and a very hate filled person as well.  He called me everything but a nice person years ago.  Good Christian, he is.

Oct 11 2010

Pique the Geek 20101010: Sustainability: Evil Plastic Bottles

Welcome to the third to last xx/xx/xx year in our lifetimes  Only next year and 2012 until we wait another 88 years for one.

Now that I have gotten your attention, actually MOST plastic bottles are not evil from a health and safety perspective, but the way that we use them certainly is evil.  I did say MOST, since by far the greatest number of plastic containers are made of polyethylene (PE, recycle code 2), polypropylene (PP, recycle code 5), or polyethylene terephthalate, (PET or PETE, recycle code 1).  These materials are not very apt to leach harmful materials into the contents.

Some plastics, notably polycarbonate (PC, recycle code 7 [7 is a catch all for “other”]) are apt to leach out harmful materials, particularly bisphenol A, strongly suspected as being an endocrine system disruptor because of its potential to mimic estrogen.  Polycarbonate containers are clear and usually thick, while PE and PP are translucent.  PETE is also clear, but usually quite a bit thinner than PC.  Just look at the recycle codes on the bottom.

Oct 09 2010

Popular Culture 20101008: Telephone Billing Scams (Updated)

This covers a topic about which I wrote earlier this week, but is expanded and completely revised, and includes actions that you can take if you find yourself in this situation.  I know that this will not be as well received as the installment last week, but this is an important topic, (although not a popular one), and is part of our culture at present.  I am talking about telephone billing scams, often called cramming, and they are common.

This incident is from personal experience, and recent at that.  Cramming is the addition of charges on one’s residential or wireless telephone bills that were not authorized by the owner of the account, or the addition of charges that were unwittingly authorized by the owner of the account.  In my case, it was the former, twice.

Oct 07 2010

Popular Culture 20101008: Telephone Billing Scams

Well, this will not be nearly as entertaining as some of the music ones, but it is still part of popular culture.  There is a telephone billing scam going around, and I daresay that at least one of you reading this has become a victim of it.  I was.

It has to do with third party billing to your telephone bill.  You do not call 900 numbers?  No matter.  Not the 809 ones to the Bahamas?  No matter.  Right now, this audience is being vacuumed for telephone numbers for surreptitious billing.  It happened to me, and I thought that it was my fault.  It was not.  Please continue this journey.

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