Category Archives: Education

Geekery for Geekery’s Sake

Dated--but still a great flick

Dated–but still a great flick

We all know that computer geeks love to speak among themselves in terms that defy logic, and the understanding of those they consider “mere mortals.” They speak of “enterprise-wide solutions” when they install software for an entire company. If you have a computer problem, they “open a ticket.”

Okay, we get it. If you spoke in plain English, we’d not be nearly so impressed. But what’s the deal with software names? Why must you geeks choose names that give absolutely no clue as to what the software is supposed to do?

Microsoft Silverlight: Sounds like it should, I don’t know, decrease the mass of a heavy metal? [It deals with streaming media, graphics, etc.]

Avast: Sounds like a program for messaging pirates. [It’s an anti-malware program]

Magical Jellybean: Something to prepare for Easter or Halloween? [It displays the activation codes you entered when installing software.]

While “Word” sort-of, kind-of suggests a word processor, “Excel” does not scream “SPREADSHEET” to me.

CCleaner: Is an anomaly; it means “crap cleaner” as in getting rid of all those leftover pieces of programs you no longer need. But, as I said, it’s an anomaly.

So, to all you computer geeks out there, be warned that, I’m getting ready to frambus on the esperel before re-chwising the quimbrel.

So, there!

The Chin? Why?

chinIt’s taken me a long time to figure out the chin as compared to other body parts.

Opposing thumb? Great idea!

Eyes, ears, nose, taste buds? They make life worth living.

Those body parts the British call the “naughty bits?” No explanation needed.

After years in the healthcare field primarily focused on anatomy, I’ve always had an appreciation for body parts. But the chin? There’s no reason that the neck couldn’t extend anteriorly and go straight from chest wall to mandible.

Oddly, the tip of the chin is called the mentum from the same root as mental; it refers to the fact that when we think we tend to cup, hold or stroke the chin. So I sat back and thought for a while.

Then it came to me.

As man evolved from the primordial soup, through the multicellular stages, eventually into a warm blooded, erect walking mammal, somehow the genes and chromosomes aligned to form the chin for one reason.

Without the chin, we could never get pillows into pillow cases, or fold bed sheets without help.

It just boggles one’s mind when you realize how amazing Mother Nature is!

Write? Right? Rite? Wrong!

English is certainly a strange language. I was taught the language phonetically, which must have been someone’s idea of a very cruel joke.

Spell “tough.” Now spell “though.”

“But I don’t know how to spell them.”

“Well, then look them up in the dictionary.”

“But if I can’t…never mind.”

Sincere and insincere are opposites. Flammable and inflammable mean the same thing even though dealing with fire should be the one area in which there should be no room for confusion.

Then, of course, you’ve got all of those weird plurals: a pride of lions, a gaggle of geese, a murder of crows, and a shitload of politicians.

As if it isn’t confusing enough, every single group comes up with its own jargon.

Then, people have the nerve to complain that, “No one understands me.”

The Power of the Press

SONY DSC SONY DSC

My in-laws are getting ready to move, and as they were packing—reaching into the far corners of the attic, they came across a vintage 1905 typewriter and a printing press. Based on e-mailed pictures I thought it was a mimeograph or spirits duplicator, which were mainstays of my grade school days. The mimeograph was better quality and was reserved for the school newspaper. The spirits duplicator was used for tests, and printed in purple; it also had a distinctive aroma of the solvent used to transfer the stencil to the papers.

When I actually saw it, though, it turned out to be an actual printing press, complete with type from the last printing job still in place. This wasn’t some toy with individual rubber letters; each line of type was cast in metal, and I believe it may have used some type of offset process. I have more research to do on it.

Today, we take it for granted that any thought, feeling, or whim can be shared with the world by Twitter, e-mail, blog or whatever. Here’s a selfie. Now here’s a picture of my spaghetti.

However, there was a time, not so long ago that the process was more time consuming. The sieve was more selective, and only those thoughts that made it through several critiques were shared with the world. That was not necessarily a bad thing.

About 90 percent of the e-mails, social media posts, and other messages I receive electronically is spam. Many news articles are followed by a nasty trail of anonymous troll droppings. So maybe the hassles of getting into print in days past was not so bad a thing.

Why My Mechanic Is More Trusted Than My Doctor

I swear that this is not associated with yesterday’s Jobsxtaposition topic.

I love science. I love thinking, questioning and learning. I love Edison’s I didn’t fail, I found a thousand ways NOT to make a lightbulb. Think. Hypothesize. Experiment. Compare results to expectations. Think some more. Question why things turned out the way they did.

I love logic. I love the steps to prove that something is true; I’m challenged by, but accept that you cannot prove something is false.

However, the practice of science today is be very different than my expectations of science. Today, at least according to the media and the politicians, we rely on consensus rather than experimentation, opr God forbid, fact.

How did this happen? Maybe it started with global warming. If we cannot prove that man did not cause it (because you cannot prove a negative) therefore, it is a manmade problem. Why? Because we have a consensus!

There was once another proud science – medicine. While I was doing some research I came across an interesting issue; doctors are expected to treat patients according to universal standards. If the majority of doctors prescribes medicine A or surgery B, and your doctor prescribes therapy C he or she can find themselves in big trouble if they don’t follow the consensus. They could be censured or lose their license. A handful of states have written laws to protect doctors who dare to think, but in most states the medical profession has the clout to keep the state legislature in line.

So, after four years of college; medical school; internship/residency; and several years of fellowship, doctors are expected not to question or think. They are expected to follow the consensus; order the consensus driven tests, prescribe the consensus driven treatment and not vary from the consensus.

Hmm.

My doctor is a wonderful guy. He orders various tests and based on the outcome of the tests he prescribes certain treatments and medication. There are guidelines he is expected to follow. If he varies from the universally accepted (i.e. consensus) he faces consequences.

My auto mechanic is a wonderful guy. He connects my car to the diagnostic computer and based on what the computer says, he makes certain repairs. There is a book that tells him what to do and what to charge. He’s a smart guy, but doesn’t have the education of my doctor.

The difference is, that if my mechanic wants to try something out of the ordinary, he can, and does, and it often fixes the problem, thank you.

 

Band Geeks

And if you've never seen it before https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SkeBH0jbYo

And if you’ve never seen it before https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SkeBH0jbYo

I marched in the band in high school and college, and enjoyed every second of it. (Well, there probably was a second here and there when I didn’t, but I don’t remember them.)

I can understand the old joke that football stadiums’ primary purpose is for the marching band. (For a great perspective listen to Jack Stamp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw4vqll9cAM).

I won’t belabor you with my opinionated comments. I’ll let these statements speak for themselves.

  • The morning news said that the national college championship game yesterday was attended by eighty thousand with the average ticket price being nine hundred dollars.
  • Members of the marching bands had transportation and lodging provided. They had great seats and paid nothing.
  • Marching band counts as a class with credit toward graduation.
  • Marching band members do not have to deal with 250 pound guys from the other school repeatedly grabbing and tackling them!

Almost Christmas

It’s almost Christmas.

How does one express in words what this time of year means?

Christmas marks the promise of God fulfilled by Himself – in person.

A promise He made to his chosen people, the Jews.

A time when His chosen people, even today, celebrate Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights. Celebrating the re-consecration of the Temple, when the lamp stayed lit for eight days on one day’s supply of oil, giving the Jews enough time to make more kosher oil for the lamp.

It’s the winter solstice, when we have the longest night. Starting tomorrow each day the lighted portion of the day will be longer.

Making cookies or other special dishes we never make at any other time of the year.

Even the mercenary portions of the holidays has its own blessing; it’s the time of year when we worry about what other people like and want; what would someone we love find special?

It’s almost Christmas.