Friday, January 06, 2017
1. My three-year-old son was in a contrary mood when I asked him a question.
"No!" he replied, crossing his arms, furrowing his brow, and puckering his lips. (This is so cute that I struggle not to smile or laugh when he does this. Fortunately, his next stage, to turn away from me, allows an easy out.)
To amuse myself, I then asked, "Are you feeling contrary?"
I won't do this again, but I next yielded to the impulse to ask, "Are you my buddy?"
To my amazement, he paused and looked a little less flustered, and replied, "Yes."
Along the same lines, I have noticed that he can pick up on when Mrs. Van Horn or I find something he says endearing. He'll say, "That's not siwwey!" -- which falls into the same category. So we're having to wear our hearts on our sleeves a little bit less these days.
2. Robert Hulseman, the inventor of the plastic Solo cup, died just before Christmas. Afterwards, the Washington Post ran a story about why the ubiquitous item so many of us take for granted was something of an engineering marvel. Here's part of it:
One of the Solo Cup's distinguishing features, according to the patent, was the curved lip of each cup (see 10a in Fig.3). When several cups were stacked together, the lips would "engage" -- to use the company's language -- and rest upon each other, keeping one cup from sinking too tightly into the next.It is too easy to dismiss this invention as merely clever, as used as we are to plastic cups being so convenient. But I see it differently: Cumulatively by now, Hulseman has, with his ideas on design, spared us a great deal of time that would have been wasted in annoyance and frustration from just that one aspect of using plastic cups.
3. On the heels of receiving a surprise gift of a streaming video drone from my father-in-law, I have learned that anti-drone technology is being developed. And I thought all I had to worry about was running afoul of the hawk that terrorizes the squirrels in my neighborhood...
"John's excellent book argues that 'the goal of war is to defeat the enemy's will to fight,' and shows 'that aggressive, strategic military offenses can win wars and establish lasting peace, while defensive maneuvers have often led to prolonged carnage, indecision, and stalemate.'" -- Elan Journo, in "Netanyahu Is Reading Nothing Less Than Victory -- and So Should You " at The Times of Israel
"To the extent that conservatives adopt the view that health insurance should be provided by government, they'll merely pave the road to government-run medicine (which they claim they are against.)" -- Paul Hsieh, in "No, the Government Should Not Provide Health Insurance for All Americans" at Forbes
"To learn which of two factors really motivates someone, it's useful to see what he picks when the two come into conflict." -- Ben Bayer, in "Why Do I Want to Believe This Story Is True?" at Medium
"Life is more about creating and cashing in on opportunities than it is about reflecting on chance events." -- Michael Hurd, in "Make Your Own Luck" at The Delaware Wave
"When you say that someone knows how to push your buttons, what you're really saying is, 'This person knows how I think, what's really important to me, and how to say or do things that encourage me to become aroused within that context.'" -- Michael Hurd, in "Who's Pushing Your Buttons?" at The Delaware Coast Press