Category Archives: Notes from all over

I’m gonna have to assume this is an April Fool’s gag

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that just keeps on giving.

Two days a week my schedule is such that I am attempting to work in two hour chunks while sitting in Starbucks or other wifi hotspots in between taking children here and there. For the record, I am no where near organized and disciplined enough to do this effectively. Also, in case anyone is wondering, no, there are not any Starbucks or Panera’s in western Palm Beach county with an environment conducive to making phone calls. Which is unfortunate for me, since that is, essentially, what I do for a living. Talk on the phone.

So, in one of my little between-run blocks of “work” (and I use the term loosely) time, I decide it would work better for me to have wireless broadband and just go sit in a park where I could at least make calls. So I google “wireless broadband” to try to find out what my options are and just exactly how much cheaper subscribing would be than my extra 6 grande lattes / week. (Turns out, it’s about the same. But I think the wireless broadband would have significantly fewer adverse health effects. Plus, it’s tax deductible. I’m pretty sure lattes that I consume by myself while surfing social networks, blogs and message boards are not.)

So, I see in the results a hit for google’s new free wireless broadband. I’m thinking wow – what’s the catch? So, I clicked.

http://www.google.com/tisp/

bwahahaha. Good one. Almost as good as NPR’s “story” about the USPS offering the option to buy a “prestigious zip code” or something like that. Even funnier, the support forum is still going strong – presumably 6+ months later. I’ve heard google is a fun place to work.

(No, I’m not going to give it away.  You have to click the link.)

A simple plan to save the world

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There is an article here that is very long but very worth reading.  It’s from the 05/04 issue of Esquire magazine and I only ever read it because I was stuck in the waiting room for a couple of hours once while DS1 was doing some testing.

With the state of the world being what it is, I am thinking of this article more again.  I think it’s at least as relevant now.  There’s a lot of hope for solutions in this writing.  Of course, it would take people who think in terms of real solutions like this man in our positions of power.

Did I mention the article is really long?  It is.  But totally worth the read.

Here is an intro:

A Simple Plan to Save the World
by Jeffrey Sachs
Esquire, May 1, ’04

Ending extreme poverty, disease, environmental degradation, war? We asked one of the world’s most influential economists — adviser to Kofi Annan and Bono alike — what would have to be done to put the world on a course to do exactly that. What follows is his modest little plan.

It is increasingly hard to believe the old adage that “people get the government they deserve.” Despite having everything going for it — wealth, technology, unchallenged military might — the United States is facing a spiraling crisis made in Washington: a budget deficit of gargantuan proportions, a voracious military budget that buys us neither security nor peace of mind, a reckless neglect of man-made climate change, and a foreign policy that in three short years has made us one of the most feared countries on the planet. This is a crisis, I believe, that reflects profoundly misplaced priorities regarding America’s relations with the world. In this article, I want to advance some concrete ideas on how to set those priorities right.In spite of our problems, I am an optimist — not an incorrigible optimist, but one based on facts. It is for this simple reason: The key problems that we have are all indeed solvable. Every great challenge that we face — climate, biodiversity, global health, extreme poverty, growing violence, and the “clash of civilizations” — can be solved, and at modest cost and with huge long-term benefit. We’re facing the bargain of a generation, a chance to fix the world and forge a prosperous and peaceful place for the rest of the century.The world is racked by instability resulting from “failed states,” places where hunger, death, and disease flourish and where young men rampage in the face of poverty, mass unemployment, lack of education, and hopelessness. Yet the problems of extreme poverty are not the visitations of God’s plagues on corrupt and hapless nonbelievers, but rather the result of societies suffering from the lack of health clinics, a shortage of schools and teachers, lack of rural roads, and the like. These countries need major investments in social services and infrastructure but simply lack the resources. The result is a poverty trap in which solvable poverty gets only deeper because the basic investments needed to overcome it are beyond the means of the country, while the scale of financial help from the United States, European countries, and other rich nations is much too limited to make a breakthrough. Remarkably, the United States is spending about $450 billion for the military to defend itself against global threats but only about $13 billion to fight the underlying conditions of poverty, disease, and despair that provide the breeding grounds for these global threats.

It’s possible to add up, with some precision, what financial resources would actually be needed from the rich countries to help end this extreme poverty and thereby set today’s unstable and desperate societies — Ethiopia, Haiti, Bolivia, Afghanistan, and dozens of countries like them — on their way to self-sustaining economic growth. By helping these countries rise above extreme poverty, we would also enable them to become stable neighbors and trading partners instead of havens of terror, disease, unwanted mass migration, and drug trafficking.

Happy Canada Day to the Americans

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Taken from a board elsewhere. 

Happy Canada Day to the Americans

Americans are heading over the border in droves this weekend to help us celebrate Canada Day and remind us why the Fourth of July is much, much better. As we know, they are inquisitive and have a need to know. In fact, most feel they have a God-given RIGHT to know. With that in mind, here are some actual questions asked by American tourists in Banff. Yes, they’re ALL TRUE as heard at the information kiosks manned by Parks Canada staff. You can’t make this crap up. (The answers in brackets are suggested answers that were never actually supplied to tourists. Damn Canadian manners!)

1. How do the elk know they’re supposed to cross at the “Elk Crossing” signs? (They read better than tourists do.)

2. At what elevation does an elk become a moose? (We’re not sure, but we’re told the elk has to be really, really high. I would say at least a 26 ouncer or a dime bag.)

3. American Tourist: “How do you pronounce ‘Elk’?” Park Information Staff: “‘Elk.'” American Tourist: “Oh.”

4. Are the bears with collars tame? (Yes. Smear honey on your hands and face … they love to lick it off.)

5. Is there anywhere I can see the bears pose? (Absolutely. Get yourself a copy of Playbear Magazine. If you want to see them pose live, look for the large brown bear with the hump on his shoulders. These are the best posers. If possible, play with their cubs – they pose better when you do this.)

6. Is it okay to keep an open bag of bacon on the picnic table, or should I store it in my tent? (Either is good. Rub it all over yourself first though to keep the behemoth mosquitoes away.)

8. I saw an animal on the way to Banff today — could you tell me what it was? (Yes. You’ve heard of a Mule Deer? A white-tail deer? That was a John Deere. Be careful, they eat Americans).

9. Are there birds in Canada? (Not any more. The John Deere ran into a drought of Americans and went straight for birds)

10. Did I miss the turnoff for Canada? (Yes, among others.)

11. Where does Alberta end and Canada begin? (To Albertans, there is no beginning or end there is only Alberta. You Bible belters will be familiar with the “Alpha and the Omega”. In Canada it’s called the Alberta and the Smegma)

12. Do you have a map of the State of Jasper? (Yes we do, but you can’t have it. We would normally give you a map for the State of Confusion, however they all got sent to the White House just before the Iraq invasion)

13. Is this the part of Canada that speaks French, or is that Saskatchewan? (Definitely Saskatchewan. The best Saskatchewan French is spoken in outhouses in February by brass monkeys)

14. If I go to B.C., do I have to go through Ontario? (No, just Toronto because that is generally considered the “Centre of the Universe”.)

15. Which is the way to the Columbia Rice fields? (Go to the Panama Canal and keep going until you reach Colombia. You won’t find rice fields, but the important point is, that you keep going.)

16. How far is Banff from Canada? (It depends where you are now, and if you mean kilometres or miles)

17. What’s the best way to see Canada in a day? (From space)

18. Do they search you at the B.C. border? (I wish we did. We’ll suggest that we start).

19. When we enter B.C., do we have to convert our money to British pounds? (Yes. And ounces)

20. Where can I buy a raccoon hat? ALL Canadians own one, don’t they? (No, some Canadians wear toques, which is racoon hair woven together, so technically, still a racoon hat. You can’t buy them. You have to be born here and you are issued one at birth from the Queen with your secret Canadian healthcare decoder on it. Sorry)

21. Are there phones in Banff? (Yes, but Albertans don’t know the alphabet or numbers so they can’t use them).

22. So, it’s eight kilometers away… is that in miles? (No, that would be in furlongs).

23. In America, we’re on the decibel system, you know. (Yes we know. We are reminded of your decibel system every time we hear you talking on a cell phone, to a serving person or in our restaurants and theatres.)

24. Where can I get my husband really, REALLY, lost? (Based on what we see, that ship has already sailed. Pretty much anywhere would be our guess).

25. Is that two kilometers by foot or by car? (No, that’s by how the Pack Mule flies … at night, as you will discover)

26. Don’t you Canadians know anything? (Well, compared to whom? Actually, that would be hard to answer without being rude, and you know how we Canadians are).

27. Where do you put the animals at night? (Sky corrals. Did you think to look up at night?)

28. Tourist: “How do you get your lakes so blue?” Park staff: “We take the water out in the winter and paint the bottom.” Tourist: “Oh!” (We don’t allow Republicans to swim in them. Wading to the knees is the most we allow.)

Have a great weekend and remember to laugh because as David Letterman points out, “More Americans can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of government – but that’s because the Three Stooges are more likely to get something done…”