Monday, January 12, 2015

Less Wasteful Backups

Part of the reason why Internet costs keep going up is because of the incredible wastefulness of the way companies maintain their backups. Theoretically, if you just recorded the common settings of programs installed on a server, there would be no need to actually back up terabytes of data if those programs were available on install disks (such as a recordable CDs, DVDs, etc.). This would reduce ISP costs and even provide a way to restore backups significantly faster.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How Important are Product Safety Labels?

Consumer product safety warnings are put on labels and in manuals for a reason but how many of us bother to read them? After all, who doesn't know how to change a light bulb? Unfortunately, that kind of thinking can cause a fire if the light socket cannot handle more than a 60 watt bulb but you installed a 100 watt bulb! Likewise, other common safety precautions are often ignored and some with dire consequences. Read more here.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Just What the World Needs

Groundhog who has not read
the Robert Haskell blog yet.
A blog dedicated to making the world a less scary place to that oversized rodent on Groundhog's Day. Okay, maybe the world doesn't exactly need another blog but one more won't hurt. For the latest babbling and rants, check out:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ouch, My Dog Bit Me

I was trying to talk my 9 month old Brittany mix into dropping a half rotten green apple when he dropped it and jumped up and bit me in the wrist. I’m not unaware that trying to take something out of a dog’s mouth is risky, but he evidently didn't like my intent and responded as dogs are accustomed to doing even before I actually made my move.  What happened to me is not unusual, as the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 4.5 million dog bites annually from a population of 75 million dogs, with approximately 880,000 visits to the emergency room for this reason. 15-20 people die of dog bites in any given year. So could this have been avoided?

One way to avoid this problem is to teach your dog submissive behaviors like rolling over on its back for a belly rub and not growling when you take away food—oops, I didn't get that far. I did however, have him neutered which is supposed to reduce a male dog’s aggressive behavior. That is definitely overrated. Part of the problem may be tethering. I thought I was doing him a favor by leaving him outside where he could smell the air and bark at cats, squirrels and passing dogs, and in truth he was much better behaved than when left free to roam in the kitchen. Now our kitchen is a safe area for him, at least now that we eliminated the wires to the alarm that he constantly tore up, and learned to ignore the wall paper hanging in softly flapping strips. Being nibbled to death and otherwise annoyed while eating was also disconcerting, and tying him for brief periods outside seemed like a winning idea, especially as he immediately quieted down unless he heard a dog bark or was otherwise interrupted.

Belatedly I discovered that the Humane Society considers this inhumane when done for extended periods, and when it’s reflexive of a lack of care and attention on the part of an owner.  This is decidedly not the case with me or my family, but it may account for some of his hysterical behavior when children are around. Not being able to flee when feeling threatened can cause aggressive behavior in dogs and other animals, and exposes them to possible attack by local critters (raccoons, opossums, other dogs) as well). So tethering will have to go.

Fortunately, I know the medical history of this particular dog, and need not fear rabies or the like, and having had a tetanus shot recently eliminated any fears on that score. So I’ll watch the wound for any signs of infection and treat it quickly if I discern any redness or signs of infection. Also, I’m going to talk to my family about creating an outdoor space where he can have a little more space to roam un-tethered, and maybe figure out a way to get food out of his mouth without getting a mouthful of teeth in return.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Why Energy Will be Virtually Free in the Future

How will energy become less expensive in the future? Thanks to miniaturization, consumer-electronic devices are becoming more and more affordable each day. With that also comes a new class of devices that will ultimately make household energy bills virtually non-existent. Most people don't realize that radio waves are actually a form of light. In fact, visible light is only about 7% of the light all around us. The remaining forms of light may surprise you. In order of wave lengths these are:
  1. Radio                                                                    
  2. Microwave
  3. Infrared
  4. Visible
  5. Ultraviolet
  6. X-ray
  7. Gamma ray
Types of Electromagnetic Waves
Infrared rays denote the heat given off by an object. The military uses infrared to spot targets at night. Ultraviolet or UV rays are a form of radiation that is responsible for suntans and sunburns. Gamma rays are produced by violent natural events such as supernovas (explosions of large stars). They can also be produced here on Earth to see deeper in the body than x-rays can reveal.

What does this mean to us? Light is a form of energy. Since radio waves of various frequencies (including broadcasting & WiFi) as well as other forms of light (infrared, ultraviolet, microwaves, etc.) are abundant, in theory we should be able to tap these forms of energy to power homes of the future. Although the typical solar panel only works on visible light, prototypes for using non-visible light in addition to visible light are already in the working. In the future, we'll likely see more of this and smaller, less discreet panels that can capture a multitude of light sources giving nearly unlimited free power. Whoever can produce an inexpensive power cell that takes up no more room than an average sized furnace and does not require an unsightly array of panels will likely be at the forefront of tomorrow's energy needs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Was Shakespeare, gasp, a woman, and gasp, gasp, a Jew as well?

A fascinating article by Michael Posner in Reform Judaism Magazine suggests the unthinkable. It appears that many, if not all, of the questions about the authorship of the plays by one William Shakespeare can be answered by pointing to one Amelia Bassano Lanier, born in 1569 and who died in 1645. She was the daughter of a converso, Baptista Bassano, who outwardly converted to Christianity but inwardly remained a Jew. In fact, there is a documented instance of a bris [ritual circumcision] being performed by a Portuguese servant in her home. At the age of 7 she was given to a countess to be educated, at 13 she was a mistress to the man in charge of English theatre who was also the Queen’s master falconer (50 references to hawking in the Shakespeare’s works), her closest relatives were professional court musicians, one of whom was the most popular composer of music for Shakespeare’s plays, and she was, in her own right,  the first woman to publish a 3000 line book of original poetry called Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum (Hail God, King of the Jews) in 1611. She spent time in Italy with her cousins after she was forced to leave the royal court after she got pregnant, which could account for the fact that half of the non-historical canon is set in Italy. Her Jewish roots are seen in the Merchant of Venice, which can be interpreted as a cry for equality in a bitterly anti-Semitic Elizabethan England, and also show up in the use of Jewish sources like the Talmud and the presence of spoken Hebrew, as in the character Parolles in “All’s Well That Ends Well” who says “Boskos v’vado [B’oz k’oz v’vado—in bravery, like boldness, in his surety] I understand thee and can speak thy tongue. She was also identified as the Dark Lady of the sonnets by other scholars, her decline in fortune as her life ebbed reflected in the poetry there (“in sorrows cell”).  There are many other clues as to her authorship of the many works of Shakespeare, but what drives the search for the real William Shakespeare?
                Many people have always doubted the fact that William Shakespeare had the necessary knowledge, talent and experience to write the plays for which he is given credit. The first one to doubt him was the Reverend James Wilmott in 1785, who refrained from publishing his doubts for fear of offending people. After his death, James Corton Cowell heard of this theory at a dinner party and later gave a lecture on the subject at his local philosophical society. From there it took off. Today, the Shakespearean Authorship Trust encourages and supports alternative suggestions to the bard, basing its position on the discrepancy between what is known about Shakespeare himself and the high quality of his work. For someone, for example, who created proto feminist characters in abundance, neither daughter could  sign her name—one even signed a deed with a crude mark. There is no evidence of travels beyond Stratford and London, no obvious way he could have learned about falconry, and little to indicate any sympathy or understanding of Judaism or the Jews.  Not one poem, paper, or play has ever been found in Shakespeare’s own hand, no evidence of musical talent or knowledge has been unearthed, and indeed, there is not even one shred of evidence of a formal education that might have set the table for the multiple references to astronomy, the classics, law and philosophy.  The man’s life is a mystery, and far more is known about Ameila Bassano Lanier’s life, along with that of Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere (the Earl of Oxford) and a host of others that some scholars suggest may deserve the real credit for Shakespeare’s work.  The fact that it was common for patrons to conceal their identity or to hire actors to serve as front men, and the fact that Amelia had very good reasons to hide her identity, also provides fodder for this line of argument.
                Amelia Bassano died broke and penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave. Were it not for the efforts of feminist scholars in the 1970’s researching historic women writers, she might have been forgotten entirely. That would have been a tragedy only the bard, whoever she was, could properly have embraced in all its pathos and futility.

[cultural news easy to find on the internet, harder elsewhere]


Monday, June 23, 2014

New Article Service

Haskell New York Inc. announces its new article service. On our site, we've added a new section of relevant articles to our niche including information about our government affiliates, news about environmental issues that concern us, health and fitness plus the latest in technology. Browse the category index by subject to see the latest articles. Our Consumer-Thoughts blog also allows you to post comments and interact with us. Feel free to correspond and voice your opinion on articles and blog posts we've made! Remember, we may not always agree, but we'll keep an open mind to various viewpoints.