Miscellany 2

Gerard Vanderleun has a marvelous advertisement from Johnny Walker on his site. The video is over five minutes in length, and it, and Gerard’s comments, are well worth the time.

Technology marches on, and as usual, technology in service of selling things often advances most rapidly. After all, website advertisements had to show up before adblockers could be developed.

Want to read faster? The video at the link describes a method of decoupling your speech center, which is useful because vocalizing as you read will limit your reading speed to the fastest you can imagine speaking. Follow the link beneath it, though, because there’s more good information there.

Better thinking through chemistry. I can’t vouch for accuracy, or even worth, but it’s the sort of thing I find interesting to read and think about. It’s another avenue for personal improvement, but not one I’ve really investigated. There’s another avenue I’m not even going to consider, no matter how desirable it may become in the near future, until I have adequate assurances that I can’t be hacked. With reference to the link above about flash cookies, isn’t it reasonable to assume that even something like computer implants to improve your vision will be hijacked to present advertisements as soon as they start becoming prevalent? I found the first article a few links down into this site, which has some interesting articles. So far, I’ve particularly enjoyed Signs That You’re A Bad Programmer.

Forbes Magazine has ranked West Point as the number one college in the country. The Air Force Academy ranked seventh, and Navy came in at thirtieth. Back when I attended Navy, we took it more or less as an article of faith that we, and Air Force, were better academically than Army because all West Point instructors were active-duty military, while Navy and Air Force had a mix of active-duty military and civilian instructors. I have no idea if that’s still the case. One factor in the rankings, apparently, is the site RateMyProfessors.com, which many people consider to be a “sour-grapes” site.

Gaius has some interesting numbers about the size of the National Health Service in Britain. Apparently, it employs about 2% of the British populace, and is either the third or the fifth largest employer in the world. This is the model of efficiency being held up as something to emulate?

More news from across the pond: More than thirty people are injured in a collision on a roller coaster. This, of course, demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of capitalism, given that there could not have been a collision if the operators had only waited until one car was back in the station before starting the next one. Or maybe it’s because the first car wouldn’t have stopped if essential maintenance had been performed. Then again, it’s the first such accident in 86 years – that’s not a bad safety record.

Staying with British news, Dennis the Menace is now taking after his American counterpart, in that he is no longer an antisocial bully. I’m not sure how I feel about this – one the one hand, it removes a role model, as far as making a change today removes 58 years of presence. On the other, it’s a stifling of free expression, not that there is anything like our Constitutional guarantee of free speech over in England.

The British newspapers have their share of silly articles to distract people, too. Here’s an example: a composite picture of the ideal pet, comprised of “49 per cent dog, 35 per cent cat, nine per cent horse and seven per cent rabbit.” I’ve seen this sort of thing before, but it was done better. Perhaps more honestly, it appealed to me more. Back in 1978, I got to take some leave in England after one of my patrols. I picked up a copy of a newspaper which had an article describing the ideal woman as envisioned by a group of men and women. I don’t remember if it was a celebrity “team,” or just some of their reporters/columnists. They chose the legs from one woman, torso from another, and so one, and had at least one composited photo published in the article. I believe they also had photos of the “source material.” As I said, I found it much more appealing.

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