Saturday, November 21, 2015

Golden State Warriors 14-0, Philadelphia 76ers 0-13

The Golden State Warriors are starting their season after winning the championship last year in a near records fashion so far. They need 1 more win to tie the best every 15-0 start (by Michael Jordan's Bulls).

Stephen Curry (last years MVP) is one again leading the Warriors. So far he is making his MVP last season look like a mediocre one. Stephen Curry set the record for 3-pointers last season, with 286. He's currently on pace for 415.

The Philadelphia 76ers box score last night shows one of their starters in last night's game didn't even play. I would think they would be better off playing all 5 players. They fell to 0-13 with a 113-88 loss to Charlotte Bobcats (owned by Michael Jordan).

Ok, maybe this was a misprint, but with Philadelphia this year that isn't a sure bet. They really did send 6 players onto the court 2 days ago.

Related: Frank Kaminsky - College Basketball Player of the Year 2014-2015 (he is playing for the Charlotte Bobcats now, by the way #2 Jahlil Okafor is playing for Philadelphia) - Davidson Students Get Free Sweet Sixteen Trip (when Steph Curry was playing for Davidson and Wisconsin was the opponent - Kaminsky later played for Wisconsin) - Universities Again Abandon Fans/Mission to Increase Pay to Administrative Staff/Coaches - Why Don’t Football Players Just Thrown the Ball Out of Bounds to Stop the Clock

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Art of a MacBook Pro Crash

I was watching this video, listening to Hank Green talk about how he appreciated art (even if he didn't always understand it of feel comfortable with it and how it is often presented) and was grateful for the largely unnoticed things in our lives.

He had just said

Sometimes it seems like everything is broken and nothing works at all. But when things work we don't tend to notice. There is nothing quite like knowing, as I have my entire life, that there will be food at the corner store. I don't spend enough time being grateful for that...

And then the playback of the video went crazy and my first thought was oh isn't that a neat artistic touch to show how we take for granted how amazing it is we can watch this video he shot himself and uploaded online and billions of people across the globe have instant access to it...

But instead, my MacBook Pro was crashing again :-/

When I restarted my computer his continued words continued his very worthwhile thoughts.

and not just grateful that I can always get food. But grateful that so many people come together to work hard to make sure that all of the people in New York City can continue eating and drinking and everything can continue to function. Thats not something that just happens. Thats something that people do.

Related: Appreciating Health - Action Is More Important Than Sympathy - Quitting, Habits and the Examined Life - Synchronicity

As soon as I posted this the MacBook Pro crashed again. It has been crashing a lot but this is the first time it did it within 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Our Diets Are Greatly Changing the Ecosystem Inside Our Bodies

We still have so much to learn about human health. The rich interaction of our bodies and our microbiome is amazing and important and complex and not very well understood.

Some posts I have made on these topics on the Curious Cat Science Blog: Waste from Gut Bacteria Helps Host Control Weight (2008) - Tracking the Ecosystem Within Us (2007) - People Have More Bacterial Cells than Human Cells (2007) - Microbes Flourish In Healthy People (2010) - Human Gene Origins: 37% Bacterial, 35% Animal, 28% Eukaryotic (2013)

Here is a recent article looking at variation in human microbiome.

Burgers and fries have nearly killed our ancestral micro biome.

A group of Italian microbiologists had compared the intestinal microbes of young villagers in Burkina Faso with those of children in Florence, Italy. The villagers, who subsisted on a diet of mostly millet and sorghum, harbored far more microbial diversity than the Florentines, who ate a variant of the refined, Western diet. Where the Florentine microbial community was adapted to protein, fats, and simple sugars, the Burkina Faso microbiome was oriented toward degrading the complex plant carbohydrates we call fiber.
The Western microbiome, the community of microbes scientists thought of as “normal” and “healthy,” the one they used as a baseline against which to compare “diseased” microbiomes, might be considerably different than the community that prevailed during most of human evolution.
a remarkable and somewhat quixotic effort has begun to catalog and possibly preserve, before they disappear, the microbes of people who live in environments thought to resemble humanity’s past—people whose microbiomes may approximate an ancestral state. Researchers are motoring down rivers in the Amazon, off-roading in the East African savanna, hiking into the mountain villages of Papua New Guinea. They see themselves as rushing to catalog an ecosystem that may soon disappear.

“It’s really our last chance to harvest a lot of these microbes from around the world,” Rob Knight, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego, told me. “We have to do it before it’s too late—and it’s very nearly too late.”

It is a very good idea to learn much more about this area. And it is also wise to learn what microbes we have co-evolved with for so long - before that information is lost.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Security - Verification of Change

Many web sites will now notify you if a change is made to various aspects of your account, say you change your address or email or phone... Every one I have ever received says if you made the change do nothing, if you didn't then call us.

My guess is this is because it provides some security and is super easy for them. But if security were the priority I think you would do more. Why not require them to affirmatively agree to the change? The main reason I can see is that it would create more work. You would need a process for the case where they failed to affirmatively agree to the change.

Still for very important matters it seems like this would be wise. Yet I have never seen anyplace do this.

One thing I can think of does has this process in place. For a long time (15 years?) if you get a new credit card you have to call and activate it (usually they use caller ID to auto approve if you call from the phone number on file, if the call isn't made from such a number you are asked other details to verify who you are).

Such a system could be opt-in, so only people concerned about security could participate and someone that didn't want to bother could continue as things are today.

Related: Protecting Your Privacy and Security (Curious Cat Investing blog) - Protect Yourself from Credit Card Fraud - Governments Shouldn't Prevent Citizens from Having Secure Software Solutions - Making Credit Cards More Secure and Useful (2014) - Bad Security on Government Required RFID e-passports

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

British Library Makes Over a Million Copyright Free Images Kind-of Available

The British Library lets you view over a million copyright-free images available online.

Well, I was planning on linking to it and showing some photos but they chose to use a service that blocks you from downloading the photos without signing in. Seems like a lame way to provide what could have been open access content so it doesn't seem worthy of linking to in my opinion. Hopefully they will find a better solution soon.

See the Curious Cat creative commons attribution photo feed.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Utopia (Dreamland in the USA) is an Amazing TV Program

Dreamland (USA name) is an Australian TV show (called Utopia in Australia) that is available on Netflix. It is completely awesome. It is an amazing, biting, satirical look at modern office life at the Nation Building Authority of Australia.

Even after a second tweet to my followers emphasizing how awesome this show is they failed to appreciate the importance of going to watch this show immediately. I am very disappointed in them.

Go watch this show. It is on the level of the British version of the Office (and Dilbert - the comic strip not the TV show) for sheer greatness. And while I enjoyed that a great deal I think Utopia is a significantly superior experience. As far as a TV comedy goes the only thing I can think of in this class is Seinfeld and the level the Simpson's has reached at times. But Utopia has been universally awesome from what I have seen so far, without lots of the less compelling Simpson's shows.

Better off Ted, also available on Netflix, is also quite excellent and somewhat similar Utopia.

Utopia is something no one who works in an office should miss.

The embedded videos unfortunately barely give any indication of how special this show is.

Once you watch this, if you haven't seen Better off Ted go watch that.

Related: Curious Cat Management blog - Create a System That Lets People Take Pride in Their Work

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Quitting, Habits and the Examined Life

Comment on: Motivation Keep Going

People often give in without even deciding to take the easy way out. They don't even figure out what they want. As you say

"Why is it that people hate their jobs but won't quit?"
"Why are people are unhappy in a relationship yet never make a break?"

Those are examples where quitting is the brave solution of someone working toward making there life better. Habits are very powerful. We usually accept habits without questioning them. Sometimes for good (habits can be good) and sometimes for bad.

I don't think, not quitting is admirable (as quitting is so often portrayed as a weakness). Treating others fairly is admirable. Being true to your beliefs is admirable. Sacrificing in order to achieve more important long term goals is admirable. Quitting is admirable when it supports those interests. Quitting is not admirable when it is sacrificing your long term happiness to avoid some short term effort.

What I see is people far too often don't even think about what they really want out of life. They do think about a few things in this regard (so I don't mean they never think of anything they want out of life). But they allow much of life to just be done to them as if they don't have a choice. The choices might be difficult but it seems to me we own it to ourselves to figure out what we want and then we should quit the things that are not helping and adopt new practices that will help us achieve what we want.

Related: Appreciating Health - The Aim Should be the Best Life, Not Work versus Life Balance - Action Is More Important Than Sympathy - Rhinoceros Hornbills on Mount Santubong, Borneo