Friday Four

Friday, November 23, 2012

1. Greg Ross posts the below short poem, by Piet Hein, at Futility Closet:

Whenever you're called on to make up your mind
And you're hampered by not having any,
The best way to solve the dilemma, you'll find,
Is simply by flipping a penny.

No, not so that chance shall decide the affair
While you're passively standing there moping;
But the moment the penny is up in the air
You suddenly know what you're hoping.
A few months ago, I'd mentioned this decision-making trick here, but could not properly attribute it.

2. The prevalence of large, flat-screen televisions and the absurd cost of attending movies in theaters provoked a writer at Yahoo! to include them on a list of fifteen current technologies a child today will never use. You may or may not agree with that item, but one thing I already don't use, unless you count TiVo recordings of one series, is prime-time television.

3. We're in Southern California to see my wife's family for Thanksgiving this year, and we all went to Disneyland. Highlights in brief, for this father of a seventeen-month-old girl, were: (1) Pumpkin "conducting" music at a parade while seated on Momma Van Horn's shoulders; (2) the baby spicing up her first picture with Mickey Mouse by entering missed-nap meltdown mode -- but still upstaged by Dad getting confused and going missing entirely from the shot; (3) watching the baby play with plants while we were in lines; (4) seeing the baby get completely soaked by playing in a fountain; and (5) taking the baby, who is fascinated by trains, on a train ride through the park. 

4.  A British museum has restored a sixty-one-year-old computer to full operability.
"All together, the machine can store 90 numbers. The closest analogy is a man with a pocket calculator," Delwyn Holroyd, who led the restoration effort, tells the BBC in a video about the restoration (you should watch the video, by the way, if for no other reason that to see this thing in action; it sounds like a broken typewriter as it works). "However, unlike the man with a pocket calculator, this machine can carry on day and night, and it doesn't make mistakes."
I'll have to watch the video later, when it won't wake anyone, to get the full effect.

-- CAV


Today: Corrected a typo. 

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