NY Times, 1985: Laptops Are Dead

March 19, 2015

NY Times, 1985: Laptops Are Dead
“Whatever happened to the laptop computer?” asked Erik Sandberg-Diment in the New York Times of December 8, 1985. It was just a passing fad, he wrote:

“Was the laptop dream an illusion, then? Or was the problem merely that the right combination of features for such lightweight computers had not yet materialized? The answer probably is a combination of both views. For the most part, the portable computer is a dream machine for the few.

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Schock & Awe

March 17, 2015

Schock & Awe

Aaron Schock, Earl of Peoria and the Viscount Sangamon, has retired from the Imperial Government and will return to his country estates. Lord Aaron was aghast to discover he was sitting in the House of Commons, not the House of Lords.

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March 17th

March 17, 2015

March 17th

St. Patrick is a patron of Ireland.  March 17th, the liturgical Feast of St. Patrick, occurs during the Lenten fast. Think about it.

And think about the potato (Solanum tuberosum; Gaelic “práta,” anglicized to “pratie“). Successful introduction of the New World crop bolstered the Irish countryside; the crop failures of the Potato Famine sent Irishmen to the USA, where the Irish-American secular observance of St. Patrick’s Day developed in Boston, New York and Chicago for a century before it was exported back to Ireland. Faith and Begorrah! “Globalization’ wasn’t invented yesterday.

Read Gregory McNamee’s excellent post on the Britannica blog, and stop by the Potato Museum on your way back from the pub.

Related:

“The fading of the green,” Drew DeSilver, Pew Research

“How Irish Are People Who Identify As ‘Irish-American’?” Walt Hickey, FiveThirtyEight

“How Corned Beef and Cabbage Became a Holiday Staple,” Craig Morris, USDA Blog

“No One Really Knows What a Shamrock Is,” Bess Lovejoy, Smithsonian Magazine

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l4g

Sure, an’ all, wee Mr. Potato Head® is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc.,  used here under the “satire” provision of the Fair Use doctrine, dontcha know.  Mr. Head is a Yank “Baby Boomer,” but clean the paidrín up and he makes a proper little leprechaun.

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 obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Creepy Barbie Doll Will Spy on Your Kids

March 16, 2015

Creepy Barbie Doll Will Spy on Your Kids
The Mattel corporation has introduced the Hello Barbie ™ interactive doll that not only talks, it listens. And records your kid’s conversation with her. And connects to WiFi so her recordings can be analyzed by the ToyTalk ™ voice-recognition software and the information shared with parents or … who knows.  What could possibly go wrong?

So now girls will have a role model of anatomically impossible proportions who will teach them fashion consumerism and will eavesdrop on them, too. Talk about your multi-tasking. Welcome to the 21st Century, female offspring!

More:

“Privacy advocates try to keep ‘creepy,’ ‘eavesdropping’ Hello Barbie from hitting shelves,” Sarah Halzack, Washington Post

“Big Brother Has Enormous Plastic Boobs: ‘Hello Barbie’ Can Spy on Kids,” Ellie Shechet, Jezebel

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l3U

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 Pope Loves Pizza

March 14, 2015

The Pope Loves Pizza

Pope Francis observed the second anniversary of his election on Friday by predicting he won’t be pope for long, just “four or five years.”  He doesn’t mind being pope, he told Mexico’s Noticieros Televisa, but he misses his freedom:

“The only thing I would like is to go out one day, without being recognized, and go to a pizzeria for a pizza.”

Attention American pizzaioli: His Holiness will visit the USA in September with stops in New York, Philadelphia, and DC, so clean out your ovens by the end of August.

There is speculation that Pope Francis has pizza on his mind since meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month, a year after she told him:

“Next time we will go into the piazza for a pizza.”

Frau Merkel, what a tease. She doesn’t call, doesn’t write ….

More:

“Pope Francis just wants to get pizza like a normal person,” Chris Perez, New York Post

Related:

“Pope Francis’ popularity extends beyond Catholics,” David Masci, Pew Research Center

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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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Panicking Plutocrats Ponder Wealth Inequality

March 13, 2015

Panicking Plutocrats Ponder Wealth Inequality
Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj recently explored the growing income gap in the millionaire population. “According to a recent study,” he concluded, “the insanely rich people are leaving behind the lowly, average, regular rich people.”

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Kid Senator Pens ‘Cheeky’ Letter to Iran; International Crisis Ensues

March 11, 2015

Kid Senator Pens 'Cheeky' Letter to Iran; International Crisis Ensues

In office for a couple of months, young freshman Senator Tom Cotton (AR-R) wrote an open letter to the leaders of Iran, saying that any nuclear agreement they sign with the current administration won’t be worth a bucket of warm spit in two years when the Tea Party takes over the White House. That’s misleading, but 46 other GOP senators signed on anyway, some of them older guys who really don’t know what they’re signing. These political pen pals are being hailed as … traitors, reckless, dumb, dangerous and irresponsible, trolls, saboteurs, and so on.

Secretaries of State past and present denounced the letter as a dangerous political stunt. Iran blew it off, but there’s been a strong, substantial public backlash in the USA. Now the GOP letter writers claim it was all a joke, that they were just being “cheeky.” After all, what’s more fun than jeopardizing a critical nuclear weapons agreement?

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Spaceport America: Buyer’s Remorse

March 11, 2015

Spaceport America: Buyer's Remorse

Spaceport America is an 18,000 acre commercial spaceport in New Mexico’s Jornada del Muerto desert basin near the White Sands Missile Range. Then-Governor Bill Richardson and Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic made the deal happen in 2006, and the facility opened in 2011. It cost New Mexico taxpayers $220 million and hasn’t earned very much, so some state legislators want to sell the thing. Anybody got a phone number for Flash Gordon?

More:

“The Troubled Future of the World’s First Commercial Spaceport,” Darren Orf, Gizmodo

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Image (“Spaceport America”) 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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Don’t Say ‘Climate Change’ in Florida

March 10, 2015

Don't Say 'Climate Change' in Florida

Florida officials have a strategy for fighting climate change: don’t talk about it. Employees at the state’s Department of Environmental Protection were warned not to used the terms “climate change” or “global warming” after Republican Governor Rick Scott took office in 2011. That won’t stop the warming world’s rising seas from swallowing Miami, but mum’s the word until Mr. Scott leaves office.

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Barbarians Vandalize Ancient Artifacts

March 9, 2015

Barbarians Vandalize Ancient Artifacts
As you may have heard, barbarians have defaced cultural artifacts thousands of years old. That’s right Isis militants destroyed statues in the Mosul Museum American tourists carved graffiti on Rome’s ancient Coliseum. 

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Short Link: http://wp.me/p6sb6-l2c

Image (“Vandalized Statue of Rameses II, AKA Ozymandias, after David Roberts”) 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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