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Perpetual Interview "Meme"

Posted on 2012.12.31 at 23:55
Current Mood: amusedamused
I've been meaning to do this for some time now (mostly since some awesome discussions with spider88 and qatar), but keep on forgetting. It was qatar's last question [link removed], that "forced my hand".

The damn-fool interview meme keeps on coming around every 6 to 8 months or so, and I generally ignore it, because I really hate the lame "What's your favorite color?[1] variety of questions. But as Chapters of the Fathers 2:6 tells us "It is not the shy-bashful person who learns.", and because people have been very good about asking serious questions, I am putting this entry perpetually at the top of my journal. Feel free to ask ANY question here, personal, inter-personal, about Jewish Thought, Israeli Politics, or about the weather on Mars (no idea there). The worst that can happen is that I'll respond with "That Information is Classified!" (although I have yet to encounter that type of question yet).

So go ahead and Get Smart Now, Ask Me How!Collapse )

  1. BLOOD-Red or Burgundy if you must know.

Me

Providence

Posted on 2012.12.31 at 20:10
Like most of our neighbors we usually do the big weekly shopping on thursday night, at the big Rami Levi in Pardes Hannah, which is a 25-30 minutes drive away. Two weeks ago on thursday we were in the middle of a rather severe thunderstorm. It was pretty miserable outside. We have no car at the moment. As I usually meet many neighbors there, I thought I'd go shopping and catch a ride home with them.

Doing my shopping and not a neighbor in sight. Get to the cashier and still no-one in sight. Uh-oh! This is going to get complicated. So I immediately put aside the big/bulky items. After waiting 10 minutes more, I asked someone leaving the store if they were going in the general direction, so they took a minute more out of their way and left me at the large junction from where I'd be most likely to hitch a ride homeward. This was the first milestone, typically the hardest to cover, of the usual 3 stages on this route.

Only I had miscalculated. The total weight was ~25 Kg. I could of carried that much, but was too bulky to be able to GRIP all the bag handles at once. So here I was huddled in the light rain, unable to walk the 100 meters across the highway. I started hanging some of the bags further up the arm, thinking "Oh L-rd, get me out of here" and recited Psalm 130, because King David always sooths one's soul. It's all of 8 verses long. I hadn't yet finished it, and this pick-up truck pulls up next to me and asks me "Where to?" as he was faced AWAY from the junction, I replied "That's OK, I'm going the other direction", when he insisted, I said "Katzir junction", about 10 Km away, the 2nd milestone of the way. "Hop in". I thought that wanting to help mr, he was putting me on, but nope. He had stopped at the light, and seeing someone with all these bags, made the turn to help them, but he was actually going to Katzir, which would be the 2.5 mark, is practically home, 7 Km further.

Merely seconds after I had moved all of my bags into the bus-stop, out of the rain, that someone from the next town over pulled-up, and took me literally to my door.

Total travel time ~45 minutes. It would have taken me 30-35 minutes to drive that in the rain (!!). Typical hitch-hiking time is usually double the driving time (obviously depending on the route, hour, etc.). So when people ask me where I see G-d's influence in my life, I says "Everywhere!". There are NO coincidences.
"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous."
-- attributed to Albert Einstein (and others)

Pressure

Magical Moment

Posted on 2012.07.18 at 15:18
The other day, I went on a 4 Km walk (~2.5 miles). It's a nice triangular root along two roads and through the local forest (I did NOT follow the road shown across the top, rather I took the white dirt just south of it). I started at sunset, and as it took a bit longer than I expected, by the time I got to the forest it was rather dark. As I was leaving the forest for a more open area, the strangest thing happened.

A large dark silhouette flew out of nowhere, and banked through a rather tight circle around me, no more than a meter above my head. I literally ducked in surprise. It flew off a short distance, came back, circled me again, and landed on a fence post right in front of me, less than 4 meters away (I measured later). I crouched down to see it better against the light-pollution behind it, and we stood that way, staring at each other for a whole minute. By seeing it's outline in flight before me, I could tell it was a large Barn Owl, a {Tinshemet} in Hebrew. Barn Owls are not uncommon in Israel, but they are usually very shy of people. I've never been closer than 30-40 meters to one in the wild before. So this was rather unusual and pretty damn awesome.

I had gone on this walk to "get some space", because I'm under a lot of pressure and everything I try to do, seems to get rather stuck. So I was walking along pleading with G-d "just what do you want me to do?". Seeing how unusual this "meeting" was, I was all "OK G-d, what are you trying to tell me??". It was actually pretty easy to figure-out, and as soon as I did, the Owl flew off into the night.

The Hebrew name of the local Barn Owl is {Tinshemet} from the root-word Nasham (Nun-Shin-Mem), meaning breath (noun). It is so named for the rasping breathing sounds it makes when it feels threatened. In this case, the template applied to the root is rather unusual, thus the name is practically identical to the imperative form "Breath!".

So I did. A bit further on, was the concrete cover of an abandoned cistern. I laid down and watched the stars go by.

Technology

Market of Ideas

Posted on 2012.04.03 at 18:00
Current Mood: amusedamused
Xplace is a pretty good online market for local Freelancers.

I've been watching this site for over five months. So many people [with money], AKA Investors want to "break into hi-tech" with their "idea". Watching the proposed projects AND the bidding on them, has caused me to realize just how STUPID many of these folks are. 90% of the "ideas" have ALREADY been done endlessly, dozens of times on this site alone, never mind actual running sites. Completely ignore the fact that ready-made solutions for some of these projects can easily be found for... free.

But no, "it is MY Facebook clone that will make me Rich!" If people put nearly as much effort or money into being original, then maybe we would get somewhere. Sigh. We are [supposed to be] the Start-Up Capital of the world. But no, the "dump money, get rich quick!" mentality is ruining it all.

Also, many of the bids on these projects are SO ridiculously low, that I can only hope that the actual developers have done the project once and are just rebranding and reselling it every time a new Idjut comes along.

I realize that such a marketplace is NOT representative of the whole. But really, I have actually WORKED for two such companies.
  1. Two guys wanted to create a used-cars site. They had no idea what the term "web-server" meant. Their business model was having call-center girls read the in-print newspapers for-sale sections, call people up and offer them to also spend money on their site. When they decided to "branch out" into home-rentals, they literally told me to copy some specific other site.

  2. Two guys hired me to fix the mess made by previous contractors, for their application. I was the ONLY technical person in the company. I quit because they wouldn't to treat me decently AND refused to spend 1000$ on SW tools I needed (investment returned within a month) while they Jet-Set around the world with shiny new laptops.
I need a "The Stupid, it Burns!" icon.

Laugh

Creativity

Posted on 2012.03.29 at 17:04
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
CNN "asks" (and makes a good point proving) "Is there a bias against creativity?"

They completely overlook the primary reason for the bias. Long before it gets to the "fear of uncertainty" stage, people object to it because they fail to UNDERSTAND Creativity (this feeds the fear of course). This is because they are incapable to do so, whether due to lack of natural intelligence or having dumbed themselves down.

Laugh

The Heart of the matter

Posted on 2012.03.26 at 16:05
Current Mood: blankblank
Tags: ,
Lately, weekends are the time to have nightmares and totally weird dreams. For this reason alone, I'd try to altogether avoid taking a nap on Shabbat afternoon. If only I wasn't so tired. So last week I had two real heart-thumpers.

I was in a large nebulous room, with many people I knew, all just doing their thing. As I was wandering around, I come across something really weird. A semi-clean white bucket, with a large human heart floating it in. It was clipped to two typical car starter-cables, and various tubes, and was just... beating away.

When I asked those around me "What the hell is this?"
I was nonchalantly told "oh that's just your father's heart".
This freaked me out.

As I continued to wander around the room, I was repeatedly drawn back to look at this. Over time I noticed that there was something ever more wrong with it, and with growing anxiety tried to get anybody else there, to check it out. No-one was worried or could be bothered. I realized that the heart was expanding and slowly tearing itself apart from the inside.

Just as it seemed about to burst, I woke up in a panic.
The Talmud teaches us that the meanings of dreams is inherent in what interpretation you choose to give them. That the interpretation itself creates the reality that the dream is about. So while my initial gut feeling was that this was about MY heart, I chose to think that this was symbolic of the [traumatic] effect my [late] father has had on me. THAT is what was being torn apart, i.e. I'm overcoming the effects he had on me. That said, I will be making myself an appointment with a Cardiologist with regard to some minor issue.

Definitely gave me a hot-topic for discussion with my dear Shrink.

[ The other dream was with regard to seemingly being unable to teach/impose limits to one of my teen-age daughters. While innocent enough in itself, had heart-attack level implications. Enough said. ]

Laugh

Political Comedy, the non-PC type

Posted on 2012.03.12 at 18:19
CNN asks an interesting question: Is political comedy inherently leftist? and gives a completely wrong answer.

Their answer is wrong in so many ways (as to be typical of CNN). To begin with, their panel was far too Politically Correct: "But comedians shouldn't take a political stance when trying to be funny." Why because some people might be offended? Non-offensive comedy, now THAT would be a novelty... Because it's somehow bad for business? Or perhaps because the majority of their audience would rather not have to think too much:
Benincasa agreed, saying there's a reason most of the most popular clips on YouTube don't feature politics but cute cats and guys getting smacked in the groin.
No! These are "most popular" because people would rather be dumb shits. We CAN (and should) blame "the media" for dumbing-down the audience, but they are NOT solely to blame. Circuses and Bread, dude.

Lastly, this MAY be true of American politics/comedy. I wouldn't know as I don't follow ANY [American] TV, let alone "comedy". Jon Stewart is OK (sometimes funny). Sarah Silverman? A Shanda. Perhaps this bias to the left is because the Right in the USA is SO much *easier* to make fun of. But then the American Right seems to have such a narrow focus (or perhaps a narrow definition of "Right"). I strongly doubt that this is true of countries that have a more robust and filled-out political debate. I think political humor in the UK is more balanced.

In Israel, I'd go so far as to say that we have the opposite "problem". The "Political Comedy" coming from the Left, is mostly gut-slapping (i.e. crude) Slapstick. The Right on the other hand, tends to be much more "biting" and thoughtful. You'll certainly see more of a Left bias, because the media itself is more Left here.

Some of the best Political Comedy here, is Latma. Their name literally means "face-palm" (but also akin to "bitch-slap").

Laugh

Purim 5772 (2012 for you fureners)

Posted on 2012.03.11 at 11:25
Current Mood: bitchybitchy
IIRC (questionable given circumstances), I had (at least):
2 shots Tequila (with lemon and salt),
2 shots Rum (high quality),
a shot or two more, and
at least a bottle-worth of red wines (mostly an excellent Recanati Merlot).
The white was not to my taste (drank half glass anyway, because I needed the glass).
Every time my friend Yossi turned over an empty bottle of Vodka (started with 2-3 mostly empty ones), I could hear Jack Sparrow moaning "Why has all the Rum gone?";

All told, I was much LESS drunk this year than in previous ones (I didn't even fall out of the chair). Anat jokes that I didn't go to sleep on the kitchen floor at the Rabbi's house*, because they rearranged the furniture and blocked my escape path. Purim was somewhat surreal this year. There is a LOT of tension in the air. After all, Purim is when we celebrate trouncing all over Persian politics and attempted genocide, and here Persia (AKA Iran) is all the news, yet again.

Lastly, I literally bruised my lips from blowing all day, on the Vuvuzella that friend Sharon sent me all the way from South-Africa. It was awesome. I played one-upmanship with all the teen-age punks tossing firecrackers around.
"You call THAT loud? HA! [whooooooooooooooooomp!]"

* In our community it is "customary" (i.e. most people do it, not codified custom), to go to the Rabbi's house, after the mid-afternoon feast, to finish off the day.

Mouse

Endings

Posted on 2012.03.07 at 15:23
I don't know what's with me, but I seem to have lately developed an aversion to "endings". It may have to do with fear of resolution, confrontation.
  • I was watching a very cute movie, about an impossible bi-sexual love-hate triangle - Puccini for Beginners, in daily 10-15 minute bites, but put off the last 25 minutes or so, for over a week. This despite knowing to a large degree, how it would end (the opening scene is really at the end).

  • Over a week of time, I was RE-reading a favorite book, People of the Sky by Clare Bell. So I knew exactly how it ended. But getting myself to read those final two chapters... HARD!

  • Completing otherwise done tasks, of pretty much all kinds: The same.


Also in real-life, I'm having some serious issues that I AM repeatedly confronting and trying to resolve, but ever time it just looks more desolate and hopeless. Getting ground into the ground here, 6' under. More on that later, in a friend-locked entry.

Books

Interesting idea! Solid-state air-conditioning.

Posted on 2012.01.11 at 12:28
PhysOrg: Quick-cooking nanomaterials in microwave to make tomorrow's air conditioners

I have long-time dream of developing a Microwave freezer. In theory, the physics are relatively "simple".

A microwave oven works by causing the atoms to become hot i.e. vibrate by hitting them with [microwave] radiation. But in principle, if you have a radiation source that is tunable, you could just as easily calculate what frequency is needed to STOP (i.e. cancel-out) the existing [heat-caused] vibration in whatever you want to cool/freeze.

Of course this is a bit more complicated because real targets are almost never uniform in composition and heat-conductivity, but I'm pretty sure it is doable. In any case it would be an awesome project / experiment to work on.

Room-temperature to frozen in 40 seconds! Instant party-pops. Shall I rechill that vodka/scotch for you, dude? No more fear of watering the booze with melting ice-cubes. High-Science in the service of better frat-parties. Why yes I AM a geek. Who'd you guess?

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