Thursday, June 25, 2009

If you don’t like the weather just wait a few weeks!

For over two weeks it has been raining everyday. Last night was no exception but we woke this morning to the sight of blue skies and sunshine. I'm sure that the soaked earth will be fueling some interesting thunderstorms. At least thunder and lightning will be more exciting than a dull gray drizzle.

During yesterdays morning walk (in the rain) we discussed a Ray Bradbury story "The Long Rain" which was included in the 1969 film "The Illustrated Man".

Monday, June 22, 2009

Goodbye Kodachrome!

Kodak Film had this message on their website:

They say all good things in life come to an end. Today we announced that Kodak will retire KODACHROME Film, concluding its 74-year run.
It was a difficult decision, given its rich history. At the end of the day, photographers have told us and showed us they've moved on to newer other Kodak films and/or digital. KODACHROME Film currently represents a fraction of one percent of our film sales. We at Kodak want to celebrate with you the rich history of this storied film. Feel free to share with us your fondest memories of Kodachrome.

I have had much better luck with the longevity of slides that were taken with Kodachrome over the ones taken with Ektachrome. Here is a scan of a slide taken by my uncle in 1949:


When I was in Singapore and Hong Kong in the Navy, I used what I consider the best film ever, ASA 25 Kodachrome. I figured at the time that these were colorful places that I would only see once in a lifetime and it made sense to use the finest grain film available.  The Nikkomat FTN I was using had a fast f1.4 lens and with the slow film the shallow depth of field is quite apparent.




When I was scanning slides, I liked the fact that you can get the proper alignment in the scanner. All you need to know is to have the emulsion side pointing down. You cannot do that when you don’t have a visible built up emulsion.

Greetings ETI, how are you doing?

I was listening to the podcast of "Go Ask your Father” on This American Life which featured a story about Allen Tough told by his son.  Professor Tough’s life’s work has be the search for contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. In the podcast his son recalls how his father would listen repeatedly to the Pink Floyd album “Dark Side of the Moon”. I suppose this choice of music might prove inspirational. Personally I thought the whole “Hearts of Space” catalog would have been a better choice.

Previous contact attempts were made using  radio transmissions and the gold anodized plaques placed on the Pioneer spacecrafts. But let’s face it, everyone must know by now that the real communication medium is the internet. The aliens are probably not only reading blogs but uploading cat videos to YouTube.

If you are an alien or know one, you may sign into the site. The URL is Give a listen to the SETI song on that site.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Beware of “free” Reversatrol Ultra


I should have known better. After watching a compelling 60 minutes piece on the health benefits of Reversatrol, the magic ingredient in red wine I made the foolish mistake of signing up for a “free” sample. I figured I would give it a try and see if could do undo the ravages of age. I thought I was rather savvy about these things.

After almost a month I don’t feel any better but I don’t feel any worse, at least until today when my credit card statement arrived. There on the page was a charge for $83.18 for a company named EXPRESSBERRY. Those are some expensive berries and I can buy two cases of 2 buck chuck for under $80 and get all my Reversatrol and enjoy it more.

As an elder I am supposed to wise, but they got me in terms of the agreement which I have included for your amusement. I missed this and apparently thousands of other folks have also.

When you go to the site a timer starts and you informed that you only have a few minutes to sign up for the “free” sample. This feature makes it unlikely that you will read the terms of this agreement.  The site has a video of the 60 minute piece, pictures of Barbara Walters or Oprah or someone named Dr Oz (Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain).

Maybe Barbara Walters or Oprah can pick up the tab for this since their names are attached to the site.

I won’t provide a link, instead I would encourage you to Google “Reversatrol Ultra Scam” instead. It’s not legally a scam, it’s just devious. I’m sure they have many products like Acai berries and something named Rez Q. But I’m  sure they all have the “free” offer.

I am returning the unopened bottle they sent with a proof of delivery notice and hoping I get a partial or full refund. This was the advice given by my Credit Card provider.

There is no such thing as a free lunch I guess.

Here is a copy of the “terms of agreement”


Free Trial Period

When Customer orders the free trial of Rez Q (the "Product") and agrees to pay the shipping and processing fee described on the order page, Company will ship Customer a 30-day supply of Product. Customer will have ten days from the date of order (the "Free Trial Period") to review the Product and decide whether Customer would like to keep it and begin Customer's subscription or contact Company to return the Product as described below. If Customer chooses to keep the Product beyond the Free Trial Period, Customer does nothing. Company will charge Customer's credit card $78.23 and Customer's subscription will begin automatically once the Free Trial Period has expired. As long as Customer's subscription is active, about every month Company will send Customer a new 30-day supply of Product and will charge Customer's credit card the same low monthly price plus $6.95 for shipping and processing. If at any time Customer wishes to end Customer's subscription and discontinue receiving additional 30-day supplies of Product, Customer must contact Company’s customer service department as outlined below. In order to avoid being charged for any subsequent Product, Customer must contact Company before shipment of Customer's next 30-day supply of Product. Company is NOT responsible for any overdraft fees or other fees resulting from customers using a credit card with an insufficient balance to cover the above costs. It is the sole responsibility of the Customer to ensure funds are available to cover all applicable fees and taxes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Air France 447 search for black boxes

It’s always sad to hear about an air disaster. One way to advance air safety is to review data recovered from the onboard flight and voice recorders. Unfortunately in this crash these devices may never be recovered. I was wondering if anyone has considered uploading a stream of data of each flight to a terrestrial server? Storage and bandwidth are cheap these days and current speeds should be sufficient to move significant data.  The idea would be to get a recording of each flight for analysis.  The data could even be analyzed for fuel efficiency and predicting component failure. My model is some of the more sophisticated servers that keep data of disk errors, temperature spikes and CPU utilization. When something goes or failure seems imminent they issue an alert that is sent to a monitoring program.

Perhaps each flight can be “recorded”. If an event or accident occurs the “tapes” can be reviewed. Just my idea.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I’ve got secrets

Yes, I suppose so, but would I share it with the entire internet? Apparently many people do. I listened to a podcast called Naming Secrets  that described confessional sites where people would bare their deepest secrets online. The site started as a community art project. It can be found here. Is it cathartic or voyeuristic? I don’t know.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

You have been been “tagged”… lucky you!


Isn’t this annoying? You get an email from someone you know suggesting that they have sent you some pictures. If you don’t respond the site suggests that your friend may have their feelings hurt as indicated by the sad face emoticon :(

If you spend the time to read the “terms of agreement” you will quickly discover that you are signing up for email from “commercial sites”. Isn’t that wonderful?

Think how happy the folks in your address book will be after they are “tagged”. Here is the “fine print” that none of us bother to read when we sign up for things like this:

E) Notice Regarding Commercial Email


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Better get ready!

We have a few close calls in the last couple years. In mid August of 1987 we witnessed the Harmonic Convergence, a planetary alignment that was supposed be a global awakening of love and unity through divine transformation. I suspect that it didn’t quite happen that way.
Later we had the Y2K scare which was supposed to bring an end to civilization as we know it. I attended some neighborhood meetings and we discussed how we could help each other out when we lost power, food and fuel. We actually got a chance to implement our plans in December 2008 when an ice storm devastated our town.
These were merely preludes to the latest and greatest upcoming doomsday calendar event ever!
December 21 2012
I’ll leave it as a reader exercise to do some research including watching the History Channel videos which contain really ominous music, scary footage of natural disasters and stock footage of nuclear explosions.
More to come on this important topic as the day approaches. Don’t make plans for Christmas that year.