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24 April 2013
No. 5,128 (cartoon)
What do you want from me?
You shall have it. In abundance!
25 April 2013
Sent From My Cray XK7
When it comes to a photograph, I don’t care if it was made with an eleven-by-fourteen view camera or a pinhole camera. For some reason, I view correspondence differently.
I only receive one or two notes a year via surface mail. Such missives are so rare that I can’t help but notice and remember them. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a deluge of email. Unless it’s a very thoughtful note from a dear friend, such messages usually go in one eye and out the other.
Annette just sent me an emotive note that she typed on her telephone’s tiny keyboard during her subway commute. Somehow that seemed more heartfelt and important than something she waited to write until she returned home.
Or maybe she was faking. (As Jean Giraudoux noted, “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”) On the rare occasion I send anything from my phone, I always include “sent from my Cray XK7” in the signature.
26 April 2013
The government of the United States spent two and a half billion dollars to send a remote-controlled golf cart to Mars. Engineers used it to draw a crude image of a penis in the Martian sand. What a great country!
27 April 2013
Average Life Expectancy for Rinehart
I was flailing around in the Internet when I stumbled across an interesting graph, “Average Life Expectancy for Rinehart.” The crude chart compared the average life expectancy of someone with the surname of Rinehartpresumably an Americanwith other residents of the United States. Not surprisingly, the last name, which could have been obtained biologically or through marriage, didn’t seem to make much of a difference, statistically speaking.
Why did the average life expectancy jump a couple of decades around 1960? Why does the graph only have 1943, 1969, and 1989 on the x-axis? Where’s 2009? The data were almost like art in that they posed more questions than they answered.
I studied the ambiguous statistics for almost a minute before ignoring them. I don’t care about the longevity of many Rineharts, certainly not enough of them to show up on a graph.
28 April 2013
Progress, One Funeral at a Time
Once upon a time I listened to a story on the radio about a black orderly working in a large hospital.
“Get me a glass of water, boy!” a decrepit, ancient, white patient commanded.
The orderly cheerfully complied. He explained to the reporter that the old man’s racism wasn’t a long-term problem, since, “He’ll be dead soon.”
I remembered that anecdote when I read Max Planck’s quote, “Science progresses one funeral at a time.”
I hadn’t really thought about that in the larger sense. There are still plenty of racists, homophobes, and worse around, but it’s been a long time since I heard of even a tiny organization in North America proposing that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
With such continued progress on other fronts, this may be a really great planet on which to live in fewer millennia that I thought.
29 April 2013
Gratuitous Photo of the Weak: San Francisco Parking Spaces
At first, this photograph has all the hallmarks of a beginner’s work: dramatic lighting and contrast, dark sky, poor composition, that sort of thing. What’s not obvious is what’s not in the image: automobiles.
This is a photograph of three contiguous empty parking spaces. In San Francisco! I don’t think I’ve seen such a thing before; I doubt I’ll see it again. That’s fine; who’d want to live in a city with easy parking?
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©2013 David Glenn Rinehart