Thursday, 30 October 2014

Creating value

Wealth is zero-sum. If I get more, then you have less. There's only so much physical property in the world that people can own and only so much money in circulation (even if we print more, inflation means it's always worth about the same in total). Moving things from place to place, as in buying and selling, doesn't increase net wealth, so the share market is just a way for rich people to get richer at the expense of poorer people.

Creating, however, has value. It adds value. Take something that was useless or raw and make it useful or beautiful. That is what it means to create value.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - In the very long term, I think value might need to be measured in terms of entropy.
PPS - But that's a totally different concept.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Mockumentaries

There should be separate words for fake documentary films made for humour and fake documentary films made as pranks or for similar purposes. I'll lump in those made to show off video editing skills with that second group. Right now, the best word we have for them both is "mockumentary", and I don't feel that covers the second case very well.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - There's also "docufiction", but I struggle to see that one taking off.
PPS - Perhaps two words for such similar concepts would be confusing.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Why no surgical use of superglue on TV?

Why do no TV shows or movies have the out-of-hospital medical carer use superglue rather than stitches to seal a wound? Is it because the majority of the audience would think it's too weird, regardless of its practicality?

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I guess it is pretty weird.
PPS - Still, it seems like the kind of thing a gritty action hero might have learned.

Monday, 27 October 2014

How to keep your office chair from being borrowed

I'm sitting near some "quiet rooms" at work these days, which should be familiar to anyone who has worked in an open-plan office. Basically, because open-plan sucks and allows the slightest noise to carry everywhere, there are meeting rooms provided that are big enough for a couple of people to use for short stretches of time for things like conference calls or stand-up meetings. Anything that might make distracting noise, really.

Okay, down to the point: chairs. These rooms often host meetings of four or more people, and only contain two chairs by default. My coworkers frequently fall victim to chair borrowing, since two of them are part-time. I, however, have managed not to have my chair kidnapped yet, and I think it's down to one simple difference: my chair has a jacket on it all the time.

If you're going to borrow a chair for a short meeting, you want one that isn't in use. That's the bare minimum of consideration in this situation. My chair with the jacket looks like it's always in use. To borrow it, you'd have to either take the jacket with you or remove it from the chair and place it on my desk. If you take the chair with the jacket, I will find you, like an overzealous interpretation of a Liam Neeson movie. Most people will be too courteous to move the jacket when there are other, undecorated chairs right there. So maybe that will work for you in a similar situation.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Also, because of the design of our chairs, it keeps them from shearing off the buttons from my back pockets.
PPS - It's a weird and specific bonus, but it matters.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Shrinking

Lately, the file I keep of draft entries for this blog has been shrinking. This hasn't happened for a long time, but it's been going on for some time now. I'm just not writing as much for this blog as I once did. Oddly, this fills me with both sadness and a weird kind of excitement. On the one hand, have I truly run out of interesting things to say? Well, yes, probably. In fact, that ship likely sailed some time ago. My 2-views-per-post average speaks volumes about that. From that point of view, seeing this blog go the way of the dinosaurs wouldn't be so bad. As long as it goes like a dinosaur skateboarding into a volcano. Rad.

On the other hand, I loves me some incremental progress. The laundry pile getting slightly smaller every day, the garden getting a little bit neater, my reading list shrinking just a little bit. I get a kick out of that, and a shrinking draft posts file feels just like that. I feel like I set myself a goal I didn't know about when I started - say all the interesting things - and I'm getting closer to that goal. I will put a big tick in the box of life accomplishments that says "natter inanely on the internet for 10 years", sit back and smile, satisfied at a job well done. Yup. All squared away.

It just depends if I hit a rich vein of inspiration some time in the next year or so before my draft entries run out. I guess we'll see. Perhaps this is a chance to refocus.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'll let you know.
PPS - Or I'll disappear one day and both of you will shrug and get on with your lives.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Identification by implant

I would like to see a supercut of all instances on Bones where a medical implant serial number has provided the identity of a victim. It's not all the time, and it's not even more than half, but it pops up a lot. I remember breast implants, artificial testicles, pacemakers and even a prosthetic stapes (eardrum bone). There have been more. Putting them all together into a supercut would point it out pretty well. It feels, sometimes, like this is a shortcut the writers take when establishing the identity of the victim is not a central plot point, or they don't have time for that as part of the main story.

It also makes me think that having such an implant, even cosmetically, might not be such a bad idea. Quick and easy identification of my remains, in the unlikely and hopefully-only-theoretical event of my grisly murder, could save a lot of time for the investigation. Or I could wear dog tags, but those are much easier to remove or lose.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I wonder if any doctor would perform a surgical implant just for posthumous ID.
PPS - Probably not. In most cases, it wouldn't be worth it.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Can't text. Driving.

I've seen a couple of ads trying to get people to stop texting while driving by responding with "#X". It's meant to be a shorthand to let people know you're driving and so won't be responding to texts for a while. However, there are a few problems.

First, unless you know what "#X" means, if you get a text like that, it's not going to make sense, and the problem persists. In the ads, a person receives "#X", pronounces the person responsible and proceeds with their day in a good mood. The person who doesn't receive the "#X", however, keeps texting, being ignored and growing more furious. If you don't understand it, however, the "#X" won't solve that problem. It needs to be something you discuss with people.
Second, why "#X" at all? The ads all show people about to start driving, receiving a text and responding with the tag. But if you're not driving *yet*, why do we need a code? Just text "Driving. Can't respond." or something similar. Same effect. The only reason to make "#X" a standard is to be a quick response you can dash off *WHILE DRIVING* which defeats the whole purpose.

Third, if you really want this to be a thing, what you need is for the phone OS to change. Monitor the phone's physical speed via GPS. If it's over a certain speed, there will be no text alerts and, optionally, you can have it respond automatically with "Driving. Can't respond." No need for an ad campaign or a special tag, just a more considerate phone OS or a Don't-Text-And-Drive app.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one who's had that idea.
PPS - In fact, here's one you can use now.