Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Donald Trump on September 11th

September 13, 2018

Donald Trump on September 11th

On September 11, 2001 Donald Trump spoke to New York’s WWOR Radio, reflecting on the catastrophic destruction of the World Trade Center, so close to his own property at 40 Wall Street. He reacted with his characteristic sensitivity and empathy:

“40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest — and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second tallest. And now it’s the tallest.”

More:

“‘And now it’s the tallest’: Trump, in otherwise somber interview on 9/11, couldn’t help touting one of his buildings,” Timothy Bella, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Bagel Day

September 11, 2018

Bagel Day

Tuesday was Bagel Day at the software development center, and I favored Bagels & Baguettes near Stanton Park. There was a line when I got there, around 8:30 AM. The shop was near the Senate office buildings and the Heritage Foundation, so there was a TV tuned to CNN to keep news-obsessed customers occupied.

By the time I got my two dozen hot bagels, the damnedest thing was on that television. An airplane had crashed into a World Trade Center tower in New York, and the building was on fire. It was September 11, 2001.

I went to the office break room and put out the bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon. I guess I was making coffee when the second plane hit the other tower. I figured people still had to eat.

The developers were plugged into the Web, and learned as much – or as little — as anyone that morning. We knew a third plane hit the Pentagon and heard the false report that a fourth had hit the White House. There was a rumor that a plane had hit the Capitol, but we were two blocks away and would have heard that.

I scanned on the radio, but the news stations were clueless. I heard some good eyewitness reporting from New York over Pacifica, which I hadn’t expected. I put it on the telephone intercom and went through the office, turning intercoms on for some, off for people who had already heard enough.

I called the boss, got the word to send folks home, and surfed up reports on school system closings and Metro. The Red Line at Union Station was shut down until early afternoon. Phones at schools were busy, cell phone systems overloaded. I helped negotiate carpool rides for suburban commuter parents anxious enough to try the crowded roads, shut the center down, and walked home.

It was a quiet walk. There wasn’t a plane in the sky. All civilian aircraft were grounded. I kept the radio off and waited for the Wednesday paper.

Versions of this have been posted here each September 11th since 2007.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

The Secret Chambers of King Tut’s Tomb

June 4, 2018

The Secret Chambers of King Tut's Tomb

Remember when Egypt experts were “90 percent positive” that there’s a secret hiding place in King Tut’s tomb, maybe Nefertiti’s burial chamber?

Oops. A third radar scan conclusively shows there are no additional chambers behind its walls.

More:

“In King Tut’s Tomb, Hope For Hidden Chambers Is Crushed By Science,” Vanessa Romo, NPR

“There’s No Secret Chamber Behind King Tut’s Tomb, Investigation Concludes,” George Dvorsky, Gizmodo

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Image by Mike Licht (with apologies to Nicolas Reeves). Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Leaky Boomer Bladders Mean Boom Times for Adult Diapers

May 23, 2018

Leaky Boomer Bladders Mean Boom Times for Adult Diapers

In ten years, sales of diapers for adults could surpass those for babies. While birthrates fall, life spans lengthen, and 1 in 3 adults – 80 percent of them women — have bladder control problems. Babies grow out of diapers, but incontinent adults don’t. Marketers at Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble are doing their best to make adult diapers a mainstream item.

(more…)

NYC: In a Hurry? Get On a Bike.

May 22, 2018

NYC: In a Hurry? Get On a Bike.

” … a huge share of taxi and bike-share trips cover comparable distances in New York City. In 2014, nearly 34,000 trips were taken using the Citi Bike system per day, while more than 400,000 trips were made by taxi. About 55 percent of the taxi rides spanned less than two miles; so did the average bike-share trip.”

“On average, the researchers found that taxis hailed within range of a Citi Bike station were a slightly faster option than grabbing the rental bike. But when travel distances were shorter, and at times when roads were more likely to be congested, the difference in travel times dropped. On weekdays, more than half of trips shorter than 3 kilometers (about 1.8 miles) went as fast or faster on Citi Bike than in a cab. Citi Bike’s advantage is stronger as trips cover less distance: between 20 and 36 percent of weekday trips shorter than 2 kilometers (about 1.2 miles) went faster on rented spokes than in a backseat.”

— “In New York City, Bike Share Is Faster Than Cabs When It Matters,” Laura Bliss, CityLab

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Should’ve Been You

May 19, 2018

“Should’ve Been You,” written and performed by Imelda May. RTÉ One TV, 2017.

Imelda May website

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Endangered Species

May 16, 2018

Endangered Species

“National Audio Co. is the only company in the U.S. that produces cassette tape. Now, as cassette tapes enjoy a resurgence in popularity, National Audio has less than a year’s supply left of the stuff, the Wall Street Journal reports.

For the last 15 years, National Audio’s co-owner and president Steve Stepp has been clinging to his company’s dwindling supply of music-quality magnetic tape. In 2014, National Audio’s South Korean supplier stopped making the material, so Stepp bought out their remaining stock before they shuttered — and has been left with a shrinking stockpile ever since.

Although the demand for tape has increased in recent years, the quality and supply has not; National Audio has long relied on outdated gear that Stepp jokes is ‘the finest equipment the 1960s has to offer.’ That’s why the company — which makes cassettes for everyone from indie bands to Metallica — is planning to build the U.S.’s first high-grade tape manufacturing line in decades. The hope is that by January, their plant in Springfield, Missouri, will produce nearly 4 miles of tape per minute, and that they can sell the first cassettes with U.S.-made tape shortly thereafter.”

— “America is running out of cassette tape,” Kelly O’Meara Morales, The Week

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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We’re Right, and Everyone Else Is Wrong

April 27, 2018

Why do you think you’re right and everyone else is wrong? Social Psychologist Jonathan Haidt spoke about this to the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). See the full presentation here.

Animation by Sophie Koko Gate.

Dr. Haidt’s current projects include Heterodox Academy and OpenMind.

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Tumbling Tumbleweeds

April 23, 2018

Tumbleweeds are tumbling all over Victorville, California, home of the old Roy Rogers Ranch. The town is buried in the things after wind gusts of 35 to 70 mph swept the thorny brush balls in from the high desert. The thorns will rip your hands if you don’t wear gloves, and the dry, accumulated brush is a fire hazard.

“Tumbleweeds — which, for many, only exist in movies or shows about the Wild West — have a history of invasion. Known as the Russian thistle, the invasive weed is thought to have been introduced to the U.S. in the 1870s through contaminated flax seeds brought by Russian immigrants to South Dakota. Once the plant matures, it breaks off at ground level and spreads seeds by tumbling with the wind.”

— “‘A nasty nightmare’: Homes in California, Utah invaded by prickly tumbleweeds again,” Allyson Chiu, Washington Post

More:

“Attack of the giant tumbleweed: California town swamped in invasion” Rory Carroll, The Guardian

“‘Houses Disappeared’ When Tumbleweeds Rolled Into This California City,” Amy Held, NPR

Related:

“The Weed That Won the West,” Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, National Geographic

 

Video: “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” written by Bob Nolan, recorded by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, 1934.

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Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

April 18, 2018

Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the incarcerated Chicago Democrat who tried to sell Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat after the 2004 election. “Blago,” a devoted Elvis fan, is probably all shook up. He’s serving a 14-year sentence, and won’t be sprung until May 2024.

More:

“U.S. Supreme Court again rejects hearing Rod Blagojevich’s appeal,” Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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