Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Bitchin Dave's Newsletter - October 31

Dave’s Musings

Happy Halloween! Here's to hoping you get lots of treats, and have relatively few tricks (unless that's your thing of course).

In honor of the holiday, here are 25 fun facts, including the fact that Halloween was brought to us by Irish immigrants in the 1800s, and how trick or treating became a staple as a way to curb some of the pranksterism that grew out of the early traditions.


Nuclear fusion may still seem like a dream, yet a British team is investigating the feasibility of creating a fusion rocket that would allow us to travel large distances more quickly without the need for large amounts of traditional fuel.

Their research could culminate in some tests within a few years.

Read more

Among the hurdles to overcome in our ever increasing world of interconnectivity is how to cool data centers, or server farms, that house multiple computers powering the world.

While placing these data centers in cooler climates helps, there are some innovative ideas for how to circulate air, improve on the AC systems, how to use the heat differently, and of course redesigning the computers themselves.

All of these things can reduce the electric need, and help with emissions too.

Its promising that researchers and even some big companies are meeting this need head on.

Link to article

Reuters had a fun story about Disney's past, and where that might lead them in the future. The tag line is "Will Disney pull off another magic trick?"

To which I say - don't count them out!

And there's another article which is tangentially related. It looks at Disney's streaming problems



There was a bit of a mystery on a Google image that appeared online.

In short, there was an image of two Boeing 717s with Lufthansa logos on them sitting at the Detroit Airport. The problem starts with Lufthansa not owning or operating any 717 aircraft. And as people looked at it, they discovered other anomalies.

A little research reveals that Google's algorithm did some digital manipulation without human intervention. It overlapped several images and duplicated a single aircraft and then added the Lufthansa logo because the aircraft was near their terminal. And by the way, that aircraft apparently belongs to Delta airlines.

Even though this is trivial, we should always be onguard for things that feel off in a way. Don't be afraid to question what's shown to you; be a natural skeptic.


Latest video

I've got some new learnings on my hydroponic journey. I share them with you.


One Little Spark … 

Here's an article that reminds us that humans existed in the Americas more than 20,000 years ago (!!).

We are all temporary visitors to this planet. Understanding the planet, and ensuring our survival for another 20,000 years is a choice. Here's to hoping the "collective we" make the right one.


Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Bitchin Dave's Newsletter - October 24

Dave’s Musings

What's happening around the world is frankly astonishing. Its the 21st century, and yet we (a year in) still have Russia trying to conquer the Ukraine. And then you have the more recent war between Israel and Hamas.

The latter is fairly hard to understand, and the media can't condense it into something short. And some people try to put a spin on it for their own reasons. Its messy. Its complicated. You often are provided erroneous information. The thing to bear in mind is that there isn't a simple root cause, nor a simple solution. Like anyone, I feel strongly about some aspects, and could surely give my opinion about what's happening. But that would be doing a disservice and feeding into the "frenzy"

Instead, I'd like to point out that this type of aggression has consequences to other humans we share this earth with, and at the heart of it, there is a humanitarian crisis and innocent people are suffering. In my humble opinion, if we can put that in perspective, maybe we can help in some small way - either by donating to a worthy cause or voicing that to people who can possibly do something. Perhaps we can make a difference in terms of the human cost in the short term.

There are so many new images being returned, courtesy of the James Webb Space Telescope, that its sometimes hard to keep track.

Recently one image seemed to show two galaxies on top of each other. But further analysis suggested that this was somehow a galaxy that was duplicated in the image. The software and cameras were checked, and this doesn't appear to be caused by some technical issue.

The only other explanation is something that has been hypothesized but never seen: a crease in the universe, caused by a cosmic string.

Whether this is accurate remains to be seen, but the finding is interesting and worth reading more about.


A company out of Vienna is looking at turbulence in aircraft. They found that some minor adjustments in flight controls and altitude can reduce the stresses on the plane. This would make the flight more comfortable for passengers, and also cause fewer mechanical issues.

Their plan is to make a smart computer system that can use real time data and forecast from ahead to make the adjustments needed automatically.

You have to admire the thought and applying some simple tech to make flying more comfortable - as the climate change continues to make flying less comfortable.


Disney announced recently a desire to sell off streaming services in some of the markets they entered (India being a big one). They have flirted with the idea of selling off ESPN. And they are looking to revisit some of the movie distribution deals.

Then they decided to "experiment" by simulcasting Monday Night Football on ABC (over the air) along with ESPN. Cable providers have cried foul, but so far they persist in doing that.

And then there's Hulu, which was started by all of the networks and media providers as equal partners. It was a great idea and gave viewers some competitive pricing for content. Then through purchases and acquisitions, Disney wound up owning most of Hulu.

It would not be incorrect to say they manage Hulu as part of their streaming, along with Disney+, potentially in violation of anti-turst laws. Or so says a judge who allowed a suit in that space to go forward.

What happens in that space is anyones guess. But you can see how these types of things are dragging the company down.


Elon Musk is planning to charge for use of "The platform formerly known as Twitter." But its weird, because he only wants to charge $1 per year. Its an amount that is unlikely to raise too many hackles, and the millions he could make wouldn't offset his losses.

So what gives? Musk has already indicated he wants to disrupt the payments industry. And charging for use of the platform would give him access to credit card info, banking info, and so on.

As far as I know, he never created a new privacy policy after throwing out the one he inherited with Twitter. In theory, then, he could use this info however he wants - including selling it or otherwise using it to his advantage. And you wouldn't know, or have recourse.

And doing so may give him the upper hand in disrupting the payments industry.

Its crazy, but could be right up his alley.

IMHO, moving away from Twitter is a good option for those of us who see the potential problems here. Me? I have moved to Mastodon. I invite you to join me. https://techhub.social/@davey_k

Latest video

I have info about 3 world showcase pavilions at EPCOT: Germany, Italy, and Norway


One Little Spark … 

We saw a shift in society happen over the last few years, where in a broad sense we started listening to women who say they were raped, and taking the allegations seriously (or perhaps more seriously), rather than simply dismissing them.

But with that comes a potential dark side. There's the case of Trevor Bauer the baseball player who had consensual sex with a woman he met. She claimed to have been raped, and he was suspended from baseball for more than 2 seasons in reaction to the allegations.

Only it turns out it was much more complicated, and Bauers attorneys found that she had texted a friend about his net worth and her desire to get some of the money.

I don't claim to know the details of what went on, but there was a settlement and he has been reinstated to baseball. Because it wasn't what she claimed it was.

Personally, I think we need to take the allegations seriously, but we need to find a way to withhold judgement until the facts are known.


Monday, October 23, 2023

Some thoughts about American football

As I've stated in the past, for many, many years I was a fan of the Miami dolphins nfl team. I followed them and knew a lot about the players and became "the student of the game"… I started the first text-based regular discussion (later this type of thing would be known as a blog) about any nfl team. And later I started the first podcast about any nfl team. 

I enjoyed it a lot, but somewhere along the way, my interest in the team and the league on the whole waned. I think a lot of it had to do with seeing behind the curtain. I saw the ridiculousness of the business, understood how much money was involved in the league, and the players were merely commodities to the wealthy owners. Or perhaps they were more like chattel to be traded around. And injuries? Those are just part of the game. Who cares about the human toll if they're well paid?

To wit, it's a giant money suck that gives the fans something to cheer for. "WE are winners!" But does nothing to return that blind loyalty. It's very one way. 

And then you notice that everything is sponsored. Every owner asks their communities to pitch in and help make him more money through stadium improvements and the like. 

Heck, even the person performing the half time entertainment at the super duper big game has to pay for the privilege of performing. And meanwhile most of the work done before, during, and after the game is done by an army of volunteers who are lucky to get a tshirt and a sandwich - but they can say they helped. 

In spite of my thoughts to the contrary, I persisted in my work because I enjoyed doing it, and had built a name for myself. 

That is, until the current owner of the team - Stephen Ross, a wealthy real estate guy from NY - who listed Trump as an associate (dare I say friend?) - bought the team. He had no interest in the community. He didn't live here. He never gave back but kept asking for more. Prices went up (and to be fair they went up around the league) and the team became a plaything. The previous owner saw us web guys as "ambassadors" and let us be a small part of the team. This guy viewed us a nuisance and kept us at arms length but was pleasant in a way; it was free publicity for him. 

Anyway, that's when I stopped doing anything related to the team. I may have enjoyed the sport for a while, but I was giving away publicity for a guy I really, really didn't like and who stands so opposite from what I believe in. 

It's not just him. ALL the owners are like that because that's how the league is setup. 

And that's when I decided to just view it as pure entertainment. To not spend a single dime on anything related to the nfl. To not watch a game from beginning to end because it's too long and typically boring. 

The thing is, though, it's hard to let go of watching/rooting for a team you've been following for years. My only option was to stop paying attention. To sort of hate on them. To revel in their lack of success. To laugh when things went inevitably wrong. And boy did they. 

But this year…man oh man… I am reminded distinctly of what I hate about society in general and this league and team specifically. 

I stopped spending my money it. I don't pay attention. I encouraged others to do so as well.  But it's hard to pull yourself away when people around you are still fans and you're still the "football guy" - a moniker I can't shake. 

The team apparently is good this year. And that bothers me. For the simple reason that the owner - an admiral (see 
https://bitchindave.blogspot.com/2023/04/aye-aye-admiral.html) - always wins. Always has success. It doesn't matter what any of us do, think, or say. He controls everything and comes out on top. 

That's depressing and part of a larger issue in society, whether it's this, or a return to office, or anything else. 

He doesn't deserve credit or success. But he gets it. And fans pour more money into it. And it becomes a cycle all over again. 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

That was weird

I recently got an email from the lady who "really wanted to hire me" back when I was let go. 

What she told me was that she had a new position but it was 50% different than what I had applied to and I had to go through the application process and there were no guarantees. 

I was curious, so I read through the posting. And yeah, it was different. In a way I wasn't comfortable with. There were aspects of the job that aren't in my skill set, and some that are things I really don't want to do. 

So I politely told her thanks, and I appreciated her reaching out, but it's not for me. 

I might have expected this, but I got no reply after that. I was ghosted in a way. 

…and that's when it hit me that she was excited to have me on her team before. She went out of her way to reach out on WhatsApp and was being friendly and a little frank with me about what was going on. 

But this time, she sent me the email from her work address. It was a little more formal and didn't "feel" like she was being as personable. That felt off in a way. 

Then I realized she sent me the email about midway through the week the job was posted. She obviously had planned to post it and was alerted when it went live. Yet, she let me know a little later.  I wonder if she just suddenly remembered me along the way. Or if she didn't have enough applicants and reached out to fill a quota or something. 

Again. A little odd. 

And then I had a realization. If this job had been offered before I left, I would have had to take it (or lose severance). Supposing they then decided to modify the job. The policy is that if a job changes by more than 50% - which this role did - I would have been displaced (again) and forced to reapply for it. 

And that would have totally pissed me off. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Bitchin Dave's newsletter - October 17


October 17, 2023

Insights, news, ramblings, and other serious nonsense from Dave 
Dave’s Musings
The story about the murder of two Swedes in Belgium was striking on several levels. If you’re not familiar with the back story, there have been incidents of burning the Quran in Sweden. 

It would appear that a Muslim man took exception to this and attacked these tourists who were in Brussels for a soccer match.  The police tracked the man down, and wound up killing him, and it was labeled a terrorist act. 

What strikes me, first, is that these people were killed by a gun. Which is very unusual in Belgium (and frankly, in most of Europe). 

Second, was the outrage that the people felt about the murder of people; not being jaded as we are. There was no shrug, and no “thoughts and prayers” as the primary response. 

And third was the overall reaction.  The country raised the terror level and set about preventing any further attacks. And then proceeded to cancel the soccer game (which the tourists were there to see) as it reached halftime - because “it seemed like the right thing to do.”

Sometimes we need to consider the rest of the world and its actions - and take heart that we are an exception of sorts. 

Although they have yet to really delve into the details of the asteroid sample that returned to Earth last month, scientists have begun the process.

And what have they noted so far? That the sample contains both Carbon and water.

As you may know, these are the two primary things needed to produce life as we know it.

Of course, its impossible - for now - to really know what this means. But the prospects are exciting as they embark on the years of study that lay ahead.

Dante Lauretta, the principal investigator said:

“The bounty of carbon-rich material and the abundant presence of water-bearing clay minerals are just the tip of the cosmic iceberg. These discoveries, made possible through years of dedicated collaboration and cutting-edge science, propel us on a journey to understand not only our celestial neighborhood but also the potential for life’s beginnings. With each revelation from Bennu, we draw closer to unraveling the mysteries of our cosmic heritage.”

During World War II, everyone tried to gain an edge in warfare, in whatever way they could.

And while much of the progress was is fairly well documented, every once in a while, you hear about something that was mostly unknown.

I just read a story about a catapult that England was building, which would allow them to launch bombers without needing a long runway.

It wasn't practical at the time, but some of the innovations did lead to advances in catapult launches from ships.

Catapult discovery

Disney always has a wealth of entertainment-related ideas, and regularly submits patents which allow us to see their thinking. 

They noticed an “opportunity” as it relates to electric vehicle charging. 

While Tesla vehicles have an integrated infotainment system and allow you to watch a movie or play a game on the display, other vehicles have no such means of passing the time. 

Enter the patent:

Disney wants to create what it describes as an immersive entertainment pod into which people can drive their vehicles. Disney provides a lot of examples via illustration and explains its broader idea this way. 

'In one embodiment, the entertainment system includes a display external to the vehicle and viewable by an occupant of the vehicle. The entertainment system includes a communication module to receive occupant preferences from an occupant, and a processor configured to generate or modify content to be presented on the display based on the occupant preferences," the company wrote in the patent abstract. In the drawings, the pod looks a lot like a rounded garage. That pod, according to the filing, could include vehicle charging, and it would allow for immersive experiences. That would include "driving" around environments, with a safari given as an example.

Two researchers at MIT have proposed a method for free, universal healthcare that should get a lot more press. 

What they propose is radical to be sure. They propose doing away with the current system and starting off. 

The theory is that the cost would go down, the results would improve, and care would get better. 

I’d love to see this enter an actual discussion. 


Details can be found here:

Fixing Healthcare 

One Little Spark … 

… for your imagination

One of the (many) things that bugs me is the way black Americans are treated because of the way they look, dress, or wear their hair. 

There’s a student in Texas who has dreadlocks. But they don’t conform to the school dress code, so he was told he had to cut them. He refused, and was suspended. 

The school tried “reasoning” with the parents (a misnomer. He was told he had to comply), but when that failed, he was told he was no longer welcome at the school and had to enroll at an alternate school, which appears to be a reform school of sorts. 

This is not who we are. This isn’t acceptable. He needs to be treated with dignity and respect and not singled out because of how he chooses to wear his hair (and to be fair, he keeps it very neat, so that shouldn’t even be considered as a problem)

Dave’s latest video

I took a trip see a space launch. I talk about the experience and do a little sciencing. https://youtu.be/3MoQafDbq_U?si=Nj1e12VPlgxswflc

To subscribe, unsubscribe, contact > geezergamer92@gmail.com

Sunday, October 15, 2023

No storm warning for these hurricanes

I grew up in south Florida. In the 70s, and the university of Miami was a good school but hardly known for its football.

Along came Howard Schnellenberger in the early 1980s, who guided the team to bigger things. They became the scrappy upstarts who upended college football. They beat powerhouse teams in their own stadiums, and capped it with a national championship at the end of the 1983 season.

They were on the map, and became a premier team for the next two decades.

They won five national championships, played in a few more, lost out in the pre-BCS era on voting in other years.

Everyone loved to hate them. And as a student at the university, it was hard not to get caught up in the hype.

I watched them play as often as I could over that span, and it was fun.

Then there was that weird game at the end of the 2002 season against Ohio State. In the 2nd OT, Ohio State failed on the last play - hey Miami won! Except … wait for it … there was a flag for pass interference a few moments later. Ohio State got another try and "won." That moment sticks with a lot of fans and we talk about it a lot.

Why? Probably because it was the last time Miami played an impactful game.

That was 22 seasons ago. Kids who are seniors on this years team either hadn't been born yet, or were infants.

The Hurricanes have struggled mightily since then. They have had some big games here and there. They have had a stretch at times where pundits say things like "is the U back?"

But here's the reality of it all. They have been through very many coaches. 8 if you include the guy who led the team in that 2002 season and stayed around for a few years. That's about 3 years per coach, on average. New guy says he wants to do away with whatever the last guy did and starts over. But he doesn't have instant success and is let go only to repeat the cycle.

And so here we are. Most seasons have been mediocre at best, and the overall win percentage is around 60% which isn't terrible, but isn't great either.

In that 22 year span, they missed bowl games 7 times. And their record in the other games is 4-11.

About 32% of the time, they didn't even qualify. Consider that it's an indicator of success to a point, since you have to win 6 games and not be on probation to play in one.

And 50% of the time, they lost.

So they won a bowl game 18% of those years. It's not like they played top tier teams. Typically bowl matchups are planned for teams that will be competitive and thus sell more tickets. And yet, they weren't competitive.

We're currently in year 2 of a new coach. Team started off well and won a big game against a quality opponent. They scored a lot, and played good defense. Maybe this could be something.

Then, last week, they faced a team (at home) who isn't very good. Miami was a huge favorite. They'd played terribly, but still almost eeked out a win, except for a coaching decision to run with less than 30 seconds left. The player fumbled and the defense gave up two long plays and a TD to lose the game. It was pathetic and the talk of sports media for the week. How can a team blow that?! It was the number one on the "not top 10"

But hey a loss happens sometimes, even it's embarrassing. There are still 7 weeks to play. Come out and play hard and smart the following week, and you can erase that from memory.

Last night, they played. Led at halftime. And then it was one little thing here. One little thing there. And suddenly they are down by 10. And then by more, and the team seemed to give up. Sure the final was "only" a ten point loss. But it was so much worse.

Why do I keep watching? Rooting for this team? They're terrible and have been terrible for a long time now.

They joined the Atlantic coast conference 18 years ago, with the hope that they could help some of the football programs get better. Which they did. But Miamis got worse.

Inconceivably, Miami has never won an ACC title. Heck they have only qualified for a title game one time - but they were on probation and couldn't play in the game.

I guess it's time to finally admit that they aren't even worth wasting time on anymore. This feeling comes every season, and when they start off hot, I get into it. And then every year around this time, I just throw my hands up and stop paying attention.

I think it's time I start the season throwing my hands up. There's really no point in wasting three hours and getting the emotional letdown that inevitably happens.

I'll do what I do with pretty much every other game in the college world. If it's close in the 4th quarter, I'll watch it. Otherwise I'll just check the box scores. And enjoy my Saturdays.

By the way, I had occasion to visit UMs campus recently and it was vastly different. Almost unrecognizable from when I was there 40 years ago. Much like the football team is unrecognizable.

Thanks for the memories, UM.