Friday Four

Friday, July 08, 2016

1. Bob Pendleton, aka The "Grumpy Programmer," claims:

[S]everal individuals and groups have developed methods for adapting self winding gear tech for use with modern smart phones. They use the same type of kinetic energy trap and use it to charge a battery rather than adding tension to a spring. These systems have been developed and tested and they work.
As to why, as he asks, we can't buy a "self-winding" Smart Phone, my best guess is some combination of: (1) the amount of energy captured is insufficient for the typical use case, and (2) most customers would balk at the added expense adding such a capability would incur.

The author claims that his phone is dead half the time, but I almost never have to worry about the amount of charge on mine.

2. I have, over the past few months, learned of a couple of vegetables which were once common, but have been forgotten, at least in my corner of the world: skirret and ground nuts. Skirret is a root that was popular in Tudor times, while the ground nut was a dietary staple among Amerindians. The former was displaced by a combination of cheap sugar and root vegetables that were easier to grow; the latter was not well-suited to Western agricultural methods.

3. In a thought-provoking blog post titled, "Working from Home and Phatic Communication," Simon Ouderkirk observes that, working from home "creates new challenges, and it also makes visible ways in which more traditional work spaces overcome old challenges." Ouderkirk's focus in this post is on what he calls "phatic communication," which includes such things as the gestures, small talk, and banter that naturally arise among people who work in proximity:
When I was working in more traditional environments, I would have never identified small talk or waiting in line at the copy machine as ways my workplace solved a problem.
I think Ouderkirk is right that connecting with colleagues when not necessarily focused on a given task is important, even if he seems to be thinking out loud a little bit in his post.

4. John Tamny offers perspective for pessimistic Americans, through the eyes of immigrants:
[H]e loves the convenience of living in the United States. In Ethiopia even the smallest request brought to its political bureaucracy takes weeks to be processed. Not so in the U.S. As Americans we perhaps too often forget how easy life is here. To the rest of the world, American convenience means all Americans live like kings. Let's face it, living standards in even the poorest American locales are very impressive by global standards. [emphasis in original]
And with that perspective should come the motivation to understand why America is great and the desire to keep her that way.

-- CAV


Jennifer Snow said...

I've heard ground nuts called "tiger nuts". You can get them online these days--they're considered a health food.

Gus Van Horn said...

I always want to try things like this that I hear about, so thanks for passing that along.

Jennifer Snow said...

Me too! I haven't tried this one myself yet but they did look interesting.