Friday, December 18, 2015

$4 billion for a war with no enemy?

Mandy Potankin is on Colbert tonight, oppressed.  He says we need "a new paradigm".

That sum could go a very long way towards educating the world's disadvantaged, marginalized, and opressed.

Lack of, or poor, education is clearly the biggest problem the world's population faces.  Ignorance encourages hatred and fear, which then incite violence.  I have been saying since the 80's that the real chant of young people in disadvantaged and war-torn countries is, "We want our MTV".  Sadly this desire for wordly goods and associated global perspective is denied those who could actually use it to advance their own messages of peace and commonality.

Sadly, in many parts of the world, particularly those with restrictive religious tenets, the concept of education is itself under fire, literally, especcially for girls.

My One-minute movie about the Boko Haram in Nigeria is only one extreme example.  In our own country, we fan fear with the increase of mass shootings and the associated proliferation of guns.  The fear of people "not like us" causes events like targeting Sihks and other Asians who at first glance may look like Muslims because of their garb.

Where does it stop?  In the 60's and 70's we feared nuclear annihilation, but those potentially responsible were easily identifiable and located, and their motives clear.

Now it is far more like Orwell's 1984, including "doublespeak", supporting the sociological perspective known as conflict theories. Conflict theories detract from ideas of society being naturally in harmony, instead placing emphasis on political and material inequality as its structural features (which we seem to be suffering from now).


Friday, December 4, 2015


My doc said something a cople weeks, ago, that was so zen-like it was funny.  And it was, but in a completely unexpected way. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

circling the globe

Facts About the Plastic Bag Pandemic

Fast plastic bag facts
• Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide (Earth Policy Institute). Consider China, a country of 1.3 billion, which consumes 3 billion plastic bags daily, according to China Trade News.
• About 2 million plastic bags are used every minute around the world (Earth Policy Institute).
• Approximately 32 million tons of plastic waste are generated annually, representing 12.7% of total municipal solid waste (Environmental Protection Agency).
• Only 1 in 200 plastic bags in the UK are recycled (BBC).
• The average American family takes home 1,500 plastic bags a year (Natural Resources Defense Council).
• Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, which requires 12 million barrels of oil per year to manufacture. (The Wall Street Journal).

Why are plastic bags bad?
• Scientists estimate that every square mile of ocean contains approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it (United Nations Environment Programme).
• A single plastic bag can take up 500 years or more to degrade (Measuring biodegradability,
• In good circumstances, high-density polyethylene will take more than 20 years to degrade. In less ideal circumstances (landfills or as general refuse), a bag will take more than 500 years to degrade (
• An estimated 3,960,000 tons of plastic bags, sack and wraps are produced annually. Of those, 3,570,000 tons (90%) are discarded. This is almost triple the amount discarded the first year plastic bag numbers were tracked (1,230,000 tons in 1980) (Environmental Protection Agency).
• Anywhere from .5% to 3% of all bags winds up recycled (BBC, CNN).

Plastic bags' impact on the environment
• The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually at an estimated cost to retailers of $4 billion (The Wall Street Journal).
• According to data from the Ocean Conservancy's annual International Coastal Cleanups, plastic bags are consistently in the top 10 pieces of trash collected on beaches around the world.
• The extremely slow decomposition rate of plastic bags leaves them to drift on the ocean for untold years. According to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, these plastic bags cause the death of many marine animals (fish, sea turtles, etc.), every year when animals mistake them for food.
• When plastics break down, they don't biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means the materials break down to smaller fragments which readily soak up toxins. They then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion (Earth911).
• 10% of the plastic produced every year worldwide winds up in the ocean. 70% of which finds its way to the ocean floor, where it will likely never degrade (United Nations).

The solution? Reusable shopping bags >
• The solution is not a plastic bag ban, which is an emotional response which fails to strike at the heart of the issue; instead of a market-based solution, a ban shifts production to paper bags and compostable bags, both of which have heavy environmental consequences.
• The solution is not switching to paper bags or compostable plastic bags. A study on the life cycle of three types of disposable bags (single-use plastic, paper, and compostable plastic) showed that both compostable plastic and paper bags require more material per bag in the manufacturing process. This means "higher consumption of raw materials in the manufacture of the bags...[and] greater energy in bag manufacturing and greater fuel use in the transport of the finished product. ...The added requirements of manufacturing energy and transport for the compostable and paper bag systems far exceed the raw material use in the standard plastic bag system." (from a peer reviewed Boustead Consulting & Associates report)
•™ supports a multi-pronged approach that discourages the distribution of plastic bags with a tax and a cultural shift away from use-and-toss plastic bags:
     - Plastic Tax: In 2001, Ireland implemented a plastic tax (or PlasTax); the first of its kind, this route acknowledges the fact that people will still occasionally use plastic bags. This market-based     solution discourages daily, thoughtless use of plastic bags by charging a nominal fee per bag at checkout. In a study by the Irish Department of the Environment it was found that plastic bag usage had dropped 93.5%. This breaks down to a drop from 328 to 21 bags per person each year.
     - A cultural shift away from use-and-toss culture: Each reusable bag can eliminate hundreds (if not thousands) of plastic bags.

Okay, that seems clear enough.  Now my solution to reducing it is both practical and elegant (in the programmer or mathemation sense).

The Zipdry (patent pending):

Turns this:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thoughts from Pavopolis 11/15

World War 3 started long before 9/11 or any other specific event.  However, now that ISIS is an actual nation with land, there is a sort or relief that we are now fighting an actual geographical enemy.

As I look over my realm of Pavopolis, including Treemania (where I was duly elected), currently visible to me now through only the heart, not the eyes, I support our inner fight for peace and outer show of strength, not fear.

your most solemn and obliged King,
Bruce the Mindful

Friday, August 14, 2015

Sex is just not what it used to be

John Oliver did a great show last week about the many failures involved in teaching sex education in te U.S.

But for me the highlight of his tirade was this "period  piece" with bowling.

Here is some accurate reporting from the Los Angeles Times with the amusing cast information.

Hold THIS (subway story of the day)

Monday, after nearly a week with my family, a long two-train ride back to Grand Central, and a two-train subway trip up to Washington Heights, carrying my small backpack (filled with only my trusty but heavy old Macbook Pro, one t-shirt, shaving kit, kindle, sunglasses, phone charger, and medications), I approached the elevator to the street, which was already packed with one tired-looking woman and her stroller, and a crowd of people who all looked healthy enough to take the stairs.  

I managed to squeeze in, turning around to avoid getting my carry-on caught in the doors, fearing a potential repeat of the incident I reported in my previous "Subway Savior" post.

The well-dressed young man behind me muttered something like, "Can you move away a little?", a useless comment in the elevator, and I was not even sure was directed to me.

But his next comment was:
"Why don't you hold the backpack instead of pushing it into me?", while looking down and clearly seeing my one hand in a wrist brace and the other holding a cane.  I could not decide whether to respond with "Why don't you hold it for me if it's such a problem?" or "Hold THIS", with the appropriate gesture.

But being a good citizen, polite, and not wanted to make a scene for the other passengers, I bit my tongue.

In contrast, when I exited the elevator, after the tired mom, Mr. "Master of the Universe" and the rest of the crowd, a Latino gentleman caught me as I lost my balance and almost fell.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of NYC... at least the guy didn't push me out the doors ;)

Stay chill in the heat of the moment -)
Published 8:05 pm, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Friday, July 10, 2015

Flag on the Field

Through all of the news, conversations, arguments, and vitriol, there is one thread mostly missing.

Why would any state display the flag of a treasonous group that became our  enemy?  Would we display the flag of Great Britain in honor of those brave Englishmen who died here for ther country?

Are the graves here of these men decorated with the Union Jack?

Viewed from this perpective, the racist symbolism, albeit disturbing and insulting, is basically only a part of the offense.

Some in Texas have been talking about leaving the United States for years, to which I have always said, "Go right ahead".  We won't miss you, except maybe a couple decent football teams.  And don't think we'll miss your oil, either.  Before it runs out, which it will someday, you will be scrambling to sell it to the new 49-state USA.  And forget about your taking advantage of the benefits of being in the US, including military protection, obviously including military installations and jobs.  And imagine the difficulties you will have negotiating everything you get from us as a foreign entity, including infrastructure both physical and digital.  Have fun with your gun-filled saloons and schools!

This same argument applies to South Carolina.  You will miss the Snowbirds' money at your beaches, but you can flly whatever flag you want and honor whomever you want.

But to both states, if you want to be part of our United States,you have to play by the rules on which we all agree, including the use of imagery as symbolism, clearly an increasing mode of communication and basis of semiotics (look it up).  You will miss us more than we will miss you.

You are either "on the bus or off the bus".

This is merely tthe opinion of an egghead New Yorker, but I represent a lot of Americans supporting you financially but definitely not ideologically.

I hope your residents think long and hard about this.

Good luck.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Prison Comedy

I just watched "Jeff Ross at Brazos County Jail" on Comedy central,  and I think all Americans should watch.  If these people can laugh at themselves, any of us can.  Bill Maher is right, Americans need to get a sense of humor.  Jeff is harsh, and pulls no punches, but even the most personal jibes did not rattle them.

In addition, the show is interspersed with little factoids (I did not vet them all but the statistics are widely available).  Just a few examples:

More Mentally Ill Persons Are in Jails and Prisons Than Hospitals.[Clearly prisons have become our default Mental Illness treatment centers.] 
2.7 million Americans have a parent in prison.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime.
  • According to the NAACP CRIMINAL JUSTICE fact SHEET:
  •  5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites.
  • African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.

  Today's subway story:

Saw cops bringing out a young white man in handcuffs.  He looked a little like Harry Potter.  I don't know what his offense was, but my guess is that he will never see the inside of a cell.


Harry Potter in handcuffs...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Subway Savior

I have been riding New York City subways since I came here as a young man in the 1980's, so I have seen some things best forgotten.

But in the past 10 years after becoming disabled by a massive stroke, and having trouble walking, I have seen a lot more memorable events, on nearly every trip.

I ride the A train the most, from Washington Heights to the NYU area often.  I have trouble walking and no feeling and little movement on my left side.  As sitting to standing is problematic, and slow, I often do not take a seat when offered, especially if only a few stops (except of course in that long stretch from 125th street to Columbus circle).  I usually get up and stand by the doors a stop before I have to get off to be sure I can exit easily and avoiding walking on the moving car.  I know the trains in Manhattan well enough to generally know on which side the doors will open.

About two weeks ago, I was riding the C train (I think) and experienced something that all riders rightfully fear.

I was standing at the door, holding on to a pole and my cane with my right hand, ready to exit as soon as the doors opened.

When the train stopped I heard and felt the packed crowd close behind me start moving.

At the moment the doors opened, a self-important man in a suit pushed his way through, saying nothing but leaving some very angry people in his wake.

He got to the door by pushing people aside, and the next thing I knew he pushed me out the door and I fell down flat onto the platform; when I looked back I saw that my legs were still in the car.  As I heard "watch the closing doors", my brain did those quick calculations that it does in sudden danger.  Should I try to pull my legs out, and if the doors closed on them, how would I contort myself to avoid the wall at the end of the platform when the train started down the track.  Or should I attempt to pull myself back in, risking my torso or head sticking out the doors.

Meanwhile, Mr. They-can't-start-the-meeting-without-me stepped over me and ran off, looking back and yelling testily,"thanks for getting out of the way!".  I could see only his Versace-clad legs churning off into the distance.  I turned back to look in the car, my experiencing that micro-moment of utter confusion and panic. 

I glanced up and saw a huge, mean-looking young black man, extending his meaty fist to me like a gargantuan god reaching down from the heavens.  He graabbed my right arm and yanked me into the car with one huge but smooth motion.  A few people around him helped get me to my feet.  I felt like hugging him -- but that seemed a little weird, even for the subway.

The doors closed and I got off at the next stop.

Only in New York.






Saturday, June 13, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Leap second FPS

Isn't this an important question?
what is the frame rate we use or do we just treat it like any other second?
  1. leap second is a one-second adjustment that is occasionally applied to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep its time of day close to the mean solar time, or UT1. 

    Leap Second - What is it? - Time and Date

    Time and money for. The fact Date › Time Zones
    Mobile-friendly - leap second will be added on June 30, 2015 23:59:60 UTC. A leap second is a second which is added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to synchronize atomic clocks with astronomical time to within 0.9 seconds.

    A leap second will be added on June 30, 2015 23:59:60 UTC.
    Illustration image
    Atomic clocks are slightly too accurate. 
    A leap second is a second which is added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to synchronize atomic clocks with astronomical time to within 0.9 seconds. 

    Why Do We Need Leap Seconds?

    The reason we have to add a second every now and then, is that Earth's rotation around its own axis, is gradually slowing down, although very slowly.
    Atomic clocks however, are programmed to tick away at pretty much the same speed over millions of years. Compared to the Earth's rotation – which determines the length of a day – the atomic clocks are simply too accurate.

    How Often Are Leap Seconds Added?

    Did you notice? The last leap second was added at 23:59:60 UTC on June 30, 2012.
    Since 1972, a total of 25 seconds have been added. This means that the Earth has slowed down 25 seconds compared to atomic time since then.
    This does not mean that days are 25 seconds longer nowadays. Only the days on which the leap seconds are inserted have 86,401 instead of the usual 86,400 seconds.

    Leap Second 2015

    Click on Corresponding times to find out when the leap
    second is added to the time at your location.
    UTC DateUTC TimeLocal time world-wide
    2015-06-3023:59:57Corresponding times
    2015-06-3023:59:58Corresponding times
    2015-06-3023:59:59Corresponding times
    2015-06-3023:59:60Leap second added
    2015-07-0100:00:00Corresponding times
    2015-07-0100:00:01Corresponding times
    2015-07-0100:00:02Corresponding times

    36 Seconds' Difference

    The difference between UTC and the International Atomic Time (UTC-TAI) after the next leap second has been added on June 30, 2015, will be 36 sec.

    are they ever going to match up?

    Who decides when to add leap seconds?

    The International Earth Rotation and Reference System Service (IERS) in Paris, France observes the Earth's rotation and compares it to atomic time. When the difference between the two approaches 0.9 seconds, they order a leap second to be added worldwide.
    Check our Time Zone News for updates about leap seconds.
    Topics: TimekeepingClocksHistory

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