Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A friend is deleting her Facebook account

"So I have decided to practice what I preach and delete my Facebook account.  The Cambridge Analytica story, which points to a strong involvement in data mining for the purpose of swaying the election for the Republican candidate, along with Facebook’s lack of concern for the privacy of its customers by doing essentially nothing about the data mining for over 2 years, has led me to this.  By the way, Facebook’s value dropped by $35 billion after the story broke, so people are paying attention.  If things change for the better any time soon, I’ll be back.  In the meantime you can find me on Twitter, or you can PM me and I’ll give you my contact info.  I will delete my account on Saturday morning.  Of course, I will go into Facebook purgatory for a while, because it takes up to a year for an account to be permanently deleted.  It’s been great fun staying in touch with so many of you.  Please consider taking action of some kind for yourself.  We have to take back our country!  #resist"

Should we follow her lead?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

This cat gets around

Shadow, the very unofficial hospice cat, has emerged out of nowhere again.   Pitch-black with no markings at all, and huge emerald green eyes.  No one knows where he comes from or when he will come.  He just appears when he pleases, knowing that when he does he will be made a huge fuss of by everyone who meets him.  He's large, clearly looked after by someone, someone who probably has no idea of the humanitarian (or feline-tarian?) missions he goes on throughout the day.  (p. 19)

You know where you are with a cat.  Cats don't believe in God either, now I come to think of it.  It's a good rule of life, I think, not to take anything seriously that a cat doesn't.  (p. 89)

"He [Mikey] likes to pretend he's tough, but he loves it when Ninja is here at bedtime.  I think he lets Ninja sleep on his pillow to protect him from zombies," she says.  "I wonder whose cat he is." ... "He's my cat," I confess, and Sarah laughs, and then bites her lip when she sees my deadpan expression.  "Seriously?  What, you're not joking?"  (p. 196)

She opens the door to where my lost mother is sleeping.  And the strangest thing happens.  Jake, my cat, looks up as I enter the room and gets off the bed and trots toward me.  I bend down and scoop him up into my arms, heartened and confused at the same moment.  How can Jake be here?  "That's Shadow," Stella whispers, stroking his head.  "He visits us all the time."  I want to tell her that this is not Shadow, or Ninja, but Jake, strange, mysterious Jake.  (p.296)
We Are All Made of Stars ~ by Rowan Coleman, 2015, fiction (England), 8/10

This novel is not about the cat, but the cat is what I enjoyed most about the book.  The cat makes his own friends, goes where he's needed, and seems to do more good for the people around him than most of us humans do.  I found the picture of the green-eyed black cat at a couple of places online.  I think Shadow-Ninja-Jake must look like this.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Monday Muddle

Actual dialogue of a former (in other words, "fired") WordPerfect Customer Support employee.  (Now I know why they record these conversations!)  I think this guy should have been promoted, not fired.  The operator sued the WordPerfect organization for Termination without Cause.

Operator:  "Ridge Hall, computer assistance; may I help you?"
Caller:  "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
Operator:   "What sort of trouble?"
Caller:  "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
Operator:   "Went away?"
Caller:  "They disappeared."
Operator:   "Hmm.  So what does your screen look like now?"
Caller:  "Nothing."
Operator:   "Nothing?"
Caller:  "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
Operator:   "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
Caller:  "How do I tell?"
Operator:   "Can you see the 'C: prompt' on the screen?"
Caller:  "What's a sea-prompt?"
Operator:   "Never mind, can you move your cursor around the screen?"
Caller:  "There isn't any cursor.  I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
Operator:   "Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
Caller:  "What's a monitor?"
Operator:   "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV.  Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
Caller:  "I don't know."
Operator:  "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it.  Can you see that?"
Caller:  "Yes, I think so."
Operator:   "Great.   Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."
Caller:  "Yes, it is."
Operator:   "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
Caller:  "No."
Operator:   "Well, there are.  I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
Caller:  "Okay, here it is."
Operator:   "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
Caller:  "I can't reach."
Operator:   "Okay.  Well, can you see if it is?"
Caller:  "No."
Operator:   "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
Caller:  "Well, it's not because I don't have the right angle — it's because it's dark."
Operator:   "Dark?"
Caller:  "Yes — the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
Operator:   "Well, turn on the office light then."
Caller:  "I can't."
Operator:   "No?  Why not?"
Caller:  "Because there's a power failure."
Operator:   "A power ... A power failure?  Aha.  Okay, we've got it licked now.   Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff that your computer came in?"
Caller:  "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
Operator:   "Good.  Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it.  Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
Caller:  "Really?  Is it that bad?"
Operator:   "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
Caller:  "Well, all right then, I suppose.  What do I tell them?"
Operator:   "Tell them you're too damned stupid to own a computer!"

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Salon ~ another book by Stephen Hawking

Nope, I didn't cover it all when I wrote about his death on Thursday.  First, I found another of his books on my shelf.  It's one I bought but haven't yet read.
Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays ~ by Stephen Hawking, 1993
Covering subjects ranging from the personal to the wholly scientific, this is a collection of his essays and other pieces, revealing Stephen Hawking as a scientist, a man, a concerned world citizen, and an imaginative thinker.  He recalls his first experience of nursery school, punctures the arrogance of those who think science can best be understood only by other scientists, explores the origins and the future of the universe, and reflects on the phenomenon of his bestselling book, A Brief History of Time.  It's a collection of pieces he wrote between 1976 to 1992.  The photo above shows him in 1989.
Second, I want to point to an article suggesting that Hawking departed this world on "the most relevant day of the year."  Not only is March 14th called Pi Day (actually, the 30th anniversary of celebrating that day worldwide), but it's also Einstein's birthday.  What a great sense of humor this mathematician had, huh?  Even on the day he died.
More Sunday Salon posts are on Facebook.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

I speak fluent Blarney

Yes, I truly DO speak fluent Blarney (talk that aims to charm, pleasantly flatter, or persuade).

Yes, I'm part Irish (along with Scottish, English, and French).  Today is St. Patrick's Day, so let's celebrate by wearing green!

I have a choice of green shirts, and I have some green beads like those in the calendar photo.  I may even wear my light green pants.  By the way, did I forget to mention that today EVERYONE is a little bit Irish?  So go for it and have a great time!

I often find myself pondering strange ideas, like the odd fact that 39 years ago when I was 39 years old, I did something foolish on St. Patrick's Day.  That was half my lifetime ago!  So today, I'll let it go and be happy that it was something that I could (and did) un-do.  I'm just glad it was St. Patrick's Day and not April Fool's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Beginning ~ with a letter

We Are All Made of Stars ~ by Rowan Coleman, 2015, fiction (England)
Dear Len,

Well, if you are reading this, it's happened.  And I suppose that I ought to be glad, and so should you.
Summary of the book:
Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, Stella Carey leaves the house every evening.  During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones — some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain — promising to post them after their deaths.  Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Stephen Hawking has died

Many years ago, I read A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking, which was published in 1988.  It's a fascinating book and got me interested in quantum physics.  Here are some of the posts I've written for this blog that relate in some way:  look at numbers 8 and 9, and see that the 9th includes a list of other related links.

Now that I accomplished that little exercise of finding some of the posts I've written about quantum physics, I realize I never read this book, even though I wrote about it.  So I bought it for my Kindle.

Paradoxology: Spirituality in a Quantum Universe ~ by Miriam Therese Winter, 2009
This book blends science and spirituality to see whole truths that "make all things new."  Its aim is to help us realize that we who are people of faith cannot continue to practice our faith in isolation anymore.  A quantum universe is telling us that we are all connected; that the God of one is the God of all; that diversity is a blessing; that the suffering of any of earth's people or any part of the planet is a desecration to us all.  The benefit of the book is that it encourages us to look at life through a new lens that will help us see more than we have ever seen before.  It is one of those rare books on quantum science that transcends information and offers us a way of transformation.
But back to Stephen Hawking.  On the table in the lobby where I live, there's a box of cards with questions we can ask each other.  One day recently I pulled out one that said something like "If you could be assistant to anyone, who would it be?"  I immediately thought of Stephen Hawking.  He probably wouldn't have wanted me, unversed as I am about physics and quantum theory, but his thinking fascinates me.  I'll miss his ideas, and I thank him for writing so lucidly for lay readers about a field as deep as quantum physics.

The Guardian shared some of Stephen Hawking's best quotes.