Random Thoughts

In the mid-1960s the Elizabethan morality play space western known as "Star Trek" debuted and series creator Gene Roddenberry was cagey about when exactly it took place (thus the reason to use 'star dates'), but it had to have been in the 23rd century if later writers were getting their information relayed correctly.  Regardless of the exact dates of their five year mission, the public was energized by the future - and the gadgets it contained.

Portable computers were completely believable and wireless communications already existed. A fax machine was clearly on the horizon, since the teletype had already existed since 1915 and a fax just required a phone line - but medical diagnosis was not even close to "Star Trek"'s future yet.
Not So Smart Money

In modern English the term 'smart money'  is most commonly used in reference to money invested in the course of business or gambling by people presumed to be knowledgeable about the investment.  Less formally, the term is used to show that one statement is more likely true than another:  "some people say A, but the smart money is on B."

The modern meaning of 'smart money' dates from 1926, according to Merriam Webster's dictionary, prior to which the meaning was entirely different.

'Smart' can mean 'hurt' as when, after being slapped, the skin smarts.
For several years I felt the desire to give readers a positive message around this time of year, as it is the most depressive for many. Alas, as you can tell from my writing ever less, I have little to say. Mostly because I understand now that my writing is too difficult and dark. I actually kept writing much, enough for a hundred good posts, but I keep revising, unable to let the light I seem to be seeing shine through the words.
Ah, Cuba

Ah, Cuba

Dec 18 2014 | 1 comment(s)

Ah, Cuba. My father’s college roommate’s mother – are you following so far? – was a travel agent, and had gone on one of these agent junkets to Havana. She danced with the dictator Batista at a formal ball, and returned to the US with stars in her eyes. When my parents married, nothing would do, she insisted, but for them to honeymoon in Cuba.

It is often said that the middle of the road is the worst place to drive, yet centrists pride themselves on always arguing the opposite of whatever the conversation is. They believe we should split the difference on all issues, though the actual functioning of the United Nations should have put a stake into the heart of that political vampire by now. 

It turns out centrists are endangering their health in other ways, according to BMJ's annual Christmas issue, because by 'sitting on the fence' they are likely to be fatter than commies - especially Trotzkyites, who are always springing from political fad to political fad - and neo-Nazis too.


Travel Blog

Travel Blog

Dec 11 2014 | 0 comment(s)

While I do intend to update this blog today or tomorrow with a report on a nice new measurement, my blogging activities have generally slowed down a bit this week, as I am traveling. On Monday I flew from Venice to Paris and then to Miami (in a brand new A380 - that was the first time for me on that giant plane). On the next day I flew to Cancun, and then headed to Playa del Carmen where I am currently staying. 
Neatly Scattered Papers

In an article in Scientific American* on the possibility of time running backwards, the author states:
Increasing entropy is a cosmic certainty because there are always a great many more disordered states than orderly ones for any given system, similar to how there are many more ways to scatter papers across a desk than to stack them neatly in a single pile.

That sentence contains an implied statement of fact: "there are many more ways to scatter papers across a desk than to stack them neatly in a single pile."

But is it a fact?
In a popular pop music song called "All About That Bass", accomplished songwriter Meghan Trainor took center stage in a video and America by storm.

With an engaging 1940s sound (1) and a positive body image message, it was quickly embraced.

Well, positive body image unless you were under a size 12, in which case you were one of the "skinny bitches", but that is not what this article is about. Fat women have won, as the thin girl getting bullied in the video showed: 


Great - after posting a blog on alpha_strong and the new CMS measurement of its value yesterday, today I am leaving for the US. My internet connection is going to be shaky during my trip, and right now I am living on the free airport wifi in Paris, waiting to board on my flight. But fortunately, I don't need to worry about answering the comments I receive to that post  - in fact the two main commenters, Vladimir and John, are answering each other well enough that I do not need to intervene...