Saturday morning coffee [August 22 2015]

“Don’t accept that others know you better than yourself. Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.” – James Allen

The mug below comes from the University of Arizona in Tucson. I was there earlier in the week doing some research on a project. In fact, I’m sitting in a hotel in downtown Phoenix this morning as I write this. I’ll be heading home later today. I saw this mug in a display case in the U of A bookstore. It’s an awesome looking mug. I wanted one, but couldn’t bring myself to purchase it because, well, you know, my daughter is a UCLA cheerleader. Having a U of A mug in the house would be akin to blasphemy. It really is a beautiful mug though.


Straight Outta Compton was #1 at the box office last weekend, pulling down more than $60 million in its opening weekend. Crazy to imagine, but there’s no accounting for taste. It’s going to do well as everyone seems to have good things to say about the movie. I, on the other hand, chose to sped my hard-earned money on Hitman: Agent 47 Thursday night. Meh, it was decent, but not something I would put on my must see list. Let’s put it in the Redboxable category. Maybe I should have seen Straight Outta Compton. Nah.

I like coffee, and for the most part it doesn’t bother me. I can drink as much as I want as often as I want. The same can’t be said for everyone. I went to pharmacy school with a guy that had issues immediately after drinking coffee. It was like clockwork. Drink coffee, then straight to the bathroom. I bring you the following in his honor:

Have you seen the new Lenovo ThinkPad P50 and P70? Holy moly! Both are powerhouses that offer slightly different options. Both are designed to take a beating with military-grade specs. The P70 has a 17-inch display, while the P50 comes with a smaller 15-inch display. The P70 offers up to 64GB of RAM to go with a 6th Generation Intel Core Processor and 2TB hard drive. Yep, 2TB! Not to mention a slew of ports. The P50 is just as impressive with an Intel Xeon Processor, NVIDIA Quadro graphics system, 2TB of storage, and so on. What can you do with the P50 and P70? Anything you want, bud. Anything you want. Just when I think I hate Lenovo they build something to pull me back in.

Harvard Magazine: “Who’s driving up U.S. healthcare costs? A recent study by Harvard professors and colleagues revealed that the culprits may be “cowboy doctors”—physicians who provide intensive, unnecessary, and often ineffective patient care, resulting in wasteful spending costing as much as 2 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product—hundreds of billions of dollars annually…Though these cowboy doctors may be pushing the frontier of medicine…clinical evidence showed little or no marginal benefit derived from the extra procedures, resulting in wasteful spending…the researchers found that many physicians reported making decisions supported neither by clinical guidelines nor by medical literature. “Doctors are basically not relying on public scientific evidence,” Skinner said.” – I put the onus on the facility. Most hospitals are aware of renegade physicians, but refuse to do anything about it. I’ve worked with my fair share over the years.

Gizmodo: “A shade ball, which sounds like it could be a Pokemon move, is actually a clever water-cleaning device: Each one reduces evaporation, protects against animals and dirt, and costs a mere 36 cents. A total of 96 million have been poured into the 175-acre reservoir, which holds up to 3.3 billion gallons of water.” – Twenty thousand of the plastic balls have been dumped into the Los Angeles Reservoir. It’s very innovative. Makes me wonder why we haven’t been using innovation like this for years. Interesting what desperation can do for ya’.

gizmag: “We have found a way to use atmospheric CO2 to produce high-yield carbon nanofibers,” says Licht. “Such nanofibers are used to make strong carbon composites, such as those used in the Boeing Dreamliner, as well as in high-end sports equipment, wind turbine blades and a host of other products.” One of the other strengths of the method is the small amount of energy required to power it. A hybrid system incorporating solar cells and a thermal energy collector is used to bring the bath to the required temperature, a process said to use as little as a single volt of electricity.” – So let me get this straight, we can turn CO2 into something useful? What are we waiting for?

I’ve been reading more and more about the internet of things (IoT) lately, and find myself becoming skeptical of the concept. It feels a bit over-hyped to me. Is the IoT really something new? Seems to me that it’s simply an extension of existing technology. As computers become cheaper and more ubiquitous it only makes sense that they will find their way into everyday things. I recall a conversation that I had with an Intel engineer in 1996(1). He told me that they wanted to make computers like microwaves, i.e. you don’t care why you use them or how they work, you just use them. Well, I think this is what he had in mind.

Lately I find myself drawn more and more toward interesting videos. Here’s one of water balloons getting smashed in slow motion. It’s quite satisfying to watch.

The New York Times published an article recently that basically said Amazon was a crappy place to work. Ok. Of course Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon had to defend Amazon by coming out and saying that it wasn’t a crappy place to work. What’d you expect? Now there are articles popping up all over the place trying to explain what’s going on. Seems pretty straight forward to me. The New York Times did a little investigative journalism and wrote about it. Ok. Take it for what it’s worth and move on. Last time I checked, there were more than 7 billion people on the planet and Amazon employs something like 150,000. That means that greater than 99.99% of people living in the world will never work for, or possibly even apply to work for Amazon, so who cares?

I’ve been looking for a new tablet. I’ve been using an 8-inch Windows machine for more than a year now and I think it’s time for a change. I’m thinking about going back to an 8-inch Android device. There are several to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. I was hoping that Samsung was going to update their Note 8.0 tablet, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. They seem to be quite content building “edge” devices and updating their Note smartphones. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t help me. My wife has a Samsung Tab S 8.4-inch model and she loves it. I can’t copy my wife. I think the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 Z580CA is my top contender. The Z580CA is a beast. It sports 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage combined with an Intel Atom Z3580 quad-core 64-bit 2.3 GHz processor. Nice, very nice. Can’t wait to play with one.

Speaking of Samsung devices, they recently announced the S6 edge+ and Note 5. Both are beautiful smartphones. I’m due for an upgrade and find myself torn between the new S6 edge+, the Note 5, and the LG G4. I was sold on the G4 after seeing how happy my wife and daughter have been with it, but Sammy’s new devices are making it a difficult decision. I’ll wait for the reviews before making a decision. I need to know how good the camera is, and whether or not the Note 5 will give me all-day battery life.

Ever see a pistol shot recorded at 73,000 frames per second? Think about that, 73,000 frames per second. Watch as the pistol begins its recoil as the bullet passes through the mushroom cloud. Amazing.

NFL opening day is only days away. Can you smell it? I can. That’s the smell of awesome.

Have a great weekend everyone.

The guy’s name was Suresh. He was my next door neighbor when I was living in some apartment complex in Mountain View, CA while attending pharmacy school. He had a little girl that was about the same age as my oldest daughter. We used to sit and talk about technology while the girls played.

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