Oct 31, 2012

Happy Halloween


File:Happy Halloween!.jpgThe origin of Halloween is typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning "summer's end". Samhain was the first and the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish and Scottish calendar and,  falling on the last day of autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead. 

There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen.  The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on Samhain eve.  To ward off these spirits, the Gaels built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.  

In the Western Isles of Scotland the Slaugh, or fairy host was regarded as composed of the souls of the dead flying through the air, and the feast of the dead at Hallowe'en was likewise the festival of the fairies.

Oct 30, 2012

Happiness


File:Happy otter.jpg"Some pursue happiness- others create it."

- Anon.

Oct 29, 2012

Bye Bye Space Junk?


This picture always amazes me, and I am very pleased to hear that there is an effort to try and address this issue.  Kudos Boeing!





To clear space junk without creating more in the process, Boeing wants to slow pieces of orbiting degree by intercepting them with a cloud of dense gas.

Aerospace giant Boeing has developed a novel means of clearing space junk from low Earth orbit: A cloud of ballistic gas. Most space junk-clearing schemes involve launching something up there to physically de-orbit debris, but this means launching rocket stages into orbit that then become more orbital debris. Boeing’s solution: Launch a rocket full of cryogenic inert gas right to the very edge of space, then forcibly eject tons of vaporized gas further upward into an orbiting debris cluster. The initial density of the cloud will create enough drag to slow the debris just enough to de-orbit it, and the launch rocket would remain low enough to fall harmlessly back to Earth.

Oct 27, 2012

Mistakes

File:Mistakes-Precious Life Lessons.jpg
"Mistakes are the usual bridge between inexperience and wisdom."
   
- Phyllis Therous

Oct 26, 2012

Your Reputation


With a never-ending to-do list, meetings and pressure to maximize the bottom line, it can be easy to let essential courtesies in your day-to-day interactions slip through the cracks. This can really piss off your employees and make them feel undervalued.  It might not seem terribly detrimental in relation to your top-level priorities, but your day-to-day communication style can make or break your reputation as a good boss — one worthy of high-esteem, trust and respect. 

Avoid the following seemingly small-scale (yet common) missteps that can tarnish your reputation:

Ignoring that urgent e-mail or meeting request
Few things are more frustrating for employees than waiting for critical feedback or approval from you. By neglecting to respond to their urgent requests, you’re essentially acting as a roadblock for your employees instead of empowering them to succeed.

Not recognizing everyone involved
This is easier said than done. All too often, work will go unrecognized — a direct cause for resentment, especially among hardworking lower-level employees.  It’s hard to keep track of everyone’s contribution, but a little goes a long way. A simple nod, smile or thank-you to your key players is sometimes enough of an acknowledgement.

Off-the-cuff remarks
Your team thrives on your feedback. Remember this. If you fail to give constructive criticism thoughtfully, you’ll start to blur the team’s vision. Without a clear vision, your team’s chance of doing a great job just dwindled to zero.  Give feedback and give it often — and make it consistent with what you said before. Great feedback requires a small investment of your time.

Oct 25, 2012

Broadcast News

Much of broadcast news today is junk food with too much candy and spice and too few fruits and vegetables.

Larry Schweiger, NWF

Oct 24, 2012

Error

File:Error.gif
"The progress of the rivers to the ocean is not so rapid
as that of man to error."
   
- Voltaire

Oct 23, 2012

50th Reflection...


File:Happy-birthday.gif

Normally I do not really think about birthdays, but sometimes, they do seem to be kind of a milestone.  Today is one for me, and the two little ditties below pretty much sum it up for me :o)


Because You're 50

F is for how fortunate you are to have such great friends and family.
I is for how interesting all your experiences have made you.
F is also for the fun you bring into everyone's lives.
T is for how I hope I have touched someone's life in a positive way.
Y is for just being you.


Turning 50 Is Not So Bad

Turning 50 is kind of nifty
When you consider the alternative.
You're not pushing daisies or feeding the worms,
You still have a lot of life left to live.
So make the most of your golden years,
Take time to see the sights and travel.
Better to roll down the highway now,
While you're not beneath the gravel.



Oct 22, 2012

International Pie Hole Day!

File:"Don't Be a Sucker^ Keep your Mouth Shut" - NARA - 513593.tifAs you know, we dance to our own tune here at Nutwood.  A couple of years ago, my wife (Nutwood Beth), coined "International Pie Hole Day", so if you have a funny bone in you, make sure you comment on this blog or via Facebook with a phrase that includes "Pie Hole".  Have Fun :o)

Oct 19, 2012

Friendship


"Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable
pursuits become tedious."

   
- Saint Thomas Aquinas

Oct 18, 2012

Historic Egyptian Prosthetic


File:Prosthetic toe.jpgResearchers have suspected two Egyptian artificial toes are the world's oldest known prosthetic body parts. A new study suggests that is the case: Volunteers without a big toe showed the prosthetics would have made walking around in ancient Egyptian sandals much easier, suggesting they were not just used in burial or in some other non-practical way.
One of the artifacts in question is the Greville Chester toe, now in the British Museum. It dates back before 600 B.C. and is made of cartonnage, an ancient type of papier maché made with a mixture of linen, animal glue and tinted plaster. The other is the wood and leather Cairo toe at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which was found on a female mummy near Luxor and is thought to date back to between 950 and 710 B.C.
If the parts were indeed used to help ancient Egyptians missing a big toe walk normally, they would be the earliest known practical prostheses — older than the bronze and wooden Roman Capua leg, which dates back to 300 B.C.



Source

Oct 17, 2012

Anger

File:Anger Symbol.jpg
Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.   

Aristotle

Oct 16, 2012

Three Weeks & Counting

File:Symbol opinion vote.pngWe are suffering from a national case of confirmation bias, the idea that we lend credence to information that confirms our opinions and ignore evidence that doesn't - even in the face of facts.

~ Richard Stengel, Time Managing Editor

Oct 15, 2012

New Meaning to Green Bus


Green roofs are a familiar concept among high-performance building designers and other EcoGeeks, but what about a mobile green roof moving through a city?

A project called Bus Roots takes the idea of green roofs and installs it on a bus. The project is the graduate thesis of NYU student Marco Antonio Castro Cosio. A mobile science lab called Bio Bus is the host for this project.

The Bus Roots project uses an extensive green roof system similar to that used for buildings and covers the 340 square feet (31.6 square meters) of bus roof with shallow trays of plants in growth media.

Bringing a mobile patch of plants through the city offers a list of potential benefits, including mitigation of heat island effect, CO2 absorbtion, oxygen production, and aesthetic value. 

Oct 12, 2012

Strength & Confidence


File:WeirdTalesv36n1pg131 Everlasting Health & Strength.png"I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within.  It is there all the time."  
   
- Anna Freud

Oct 10, 2012

Beginning of the End


This boxy guy is called Kuratas, otherwise known as Vaudeville, and he stands 12 feet 5 inches tall. He weighs about 4.5 tons and is diesel-powered. Do not smile at him. He will shoot that grin right off your face.

Kuratas is a real-life mech from Japan, and it's an art project designed by Suidobashi Heavy Industry. Iron worker/artist Kogoro Kurata, at right in the photo above, built his namesake robot and debuted it at something called Wonder Fest 2012.

It has a ride-in cockpit, a master-slave joystick and a touchscreen interface, and its arms can be controlled via Kinect, so it could be trained as a boxer. Its twin BB Gatling guns can fire up to 6,000 BBs per minute. And it fires when a small camera inside the robot detects when you smile. This is just for fun, however — Kurata says he would never want his creation to harm anyone. But it could be used for robot competitions, he said.


You could pretend-order one of your own, via a slick website Kurata and his colleagues at Suidobashi designed. The mecha come in various color schemes and customizable weapons. But the base model starts at $1,353,500, so better start saving.

Oct 9, 2012

Political Reasoning, There is None...

File:Limousine of the President of the United States.jpg
Never attempt to reason with people who know they are right.


I have been trying to figure out why this presidential election is so different from previous elections.



I have reached the conclusion that due to the extreme polarization of our nation, that the statement above pretty much sums it up.  The undecided voters are such a small percentage of the electorate that there is little effort to reach out to them. 
In the past, honest dialogue, true debate, and thoughtful discourse could sway voters and carry the day.  Today, both parties target the base and hope to get them fired up enough to get more voters to pull the lever or fill in the oval than their opponent. 

I hope that we can shake ourselves out of this funk and get back to more of what our great country and greatest democracy ever is all about.

Sigh…