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The Actuator – September 12th

Level 17

In Austin this week, so if you are wondering "who brought the rain," well now you know. Here's hoping the sun makes an appearance before I head home.

As always, here are some links from the Intertubz that I hope will hold your interest. Enjoy!

Tesla shares crash after Elon Musk smokes joint on live web show

Everyone else knows this guy is self-destructing, right in front of our eyes, right?

Geology Is Like Augmented Reality For The Planet

A nice reminder that there are amazing stories being told, often right in front of our eyes, if we are aware they exist. Geology is one example, history is another. I make a point to get my children to take time to stop and think about what they are seeing, the history of it all.

Microsoft Requires Paid Parental Leave for Subcontractors

I think this is a good first step for Microsoft to force a change that has benefits for everyone. But I’m cautious about this precedent. And why only focus on U.S. companies? Why not address issues globally, in countries where manufacturing of devices happen?

Illusion of control: Why the world is full of buttons that don't work

I knew that ‘close door’ button was fake!

British Airways Says Customers' Financial Data Was Hacked In 380,000 Transactions

Honestly, I’m a bit impressed that they discovered the breach so quickly. Incidents such as this one can last for a year or more before a company finds and closes the hole.

Adding clean energy to the Sahara could make it rain (and not just figuratively)

First time I’ve heard about the idea that clean energy could make it rain in the Sahara and now I want to make this happen.

Japan developing ‘pre-crime’ artificial intelligence to predict money laundering and terror attacks

No mention of predicting Godzilla attacks, though.

After months of hard work, it's good to sit back and enjoy what you built with your own hands:

fire_circle.JPG

31 Comments
smttysmth02gt
Level 13

Thanks for the links!  And nice firepit.

bobmarley
Level 15

Nice job on the fire pit. Just add smores.

david.botfield
Level 13

The pre-crimes AI could be dangerous. smacks of jailing you for a crime you might commit in the future. There'd be no one left that wasn't a member of the policing forces.

rschroeder
Level 21

Poor Elon.  He's so far into the future that it seems he's lost touch with the present.

Realists and traditionalists reject his mood-altering activities, optimists and financial risk-takers want the future he promises.

Bet on nothing, since nothing's sure.  Stay financially secure, risk only what you know you'll be comfortable losing.  You may win big.  But the odds suggest not.

A person needs some kind of prescience to eliminate the risk, to know one venture will succeed instead of fail.  If I could tell my 1979 self to buy Apple stock or the right kind of Bitcoins at the right time, I'd be retired from this job, leveraging my investments to bring aid to people without clean water or enough nutrition.

rschroeder
Level 21

sqlrockstar​, your fire pit and yard furniture are beautiful!  Well done!

rschroeder
Level 21

Yes, Geology and History can be amazingly entertaining--particularly once a person can mature past youthful needs and urges.

I grew up at the feet of a Master of Earth Science, the first Naturalist in the Minnesota State Parks system, and he brought that same wonder to my mind.  Look overhead at the roof of a sandstone cave and see the under side of beach created by the Cambrian Sea.  Observe the identical patterns in modern lake bottoms and beaches, and imagine . . .

rschroeder
Level 21

I support companies who require ethical behavior and proper treatment of employees internally AND from subcontractors.

Why doesn't Microsoft require it overseas?  Because they don't have to.  Maybe because they can't fight China or corrupt governments of countries where MS has chosen to reduce cash through cheap labor, no taxes, possible graft, etc.

rschroeder
Level 21

I read an interesting paper from one of the major elevator companies based on buttons in New York lobbies.  The topic was buttons that don't work, and apparently between 60 and 95 percent of "Door Close" or other elevators don't work, and that's by intentional design.

It seems that complex algorithms and computer analyses have consumed loads of research dollars to come up with the most efficient use of elevators' location; why would the vendors want to break up those expensive patterns just to accommodate one person's impatience?  (Or so said the article.)

I've taken to testing the elevators around my town, and I believe the taller the building, the less likely that all of the buttons work as expected.

rschroeder
Level 21

Now I'm jaded enough to come up with the idea that British Airways is claiming to have been hacked just so they can get screen time in the press, to let people think B.A. is on top of security.  They didn't want to be left out, so they joined the "Hacked?  Me Too!" group.

rschroeder
Level 21

Clean energy and rain in the Sahara?  Uh . . .  have you ever heard of the "butterfly effect"?  Where seemingly miniscule or minor changes to an environment many thousands of miles away may result in huge changes your environment?

I understand that LONG ago the Sahara was lush and green.  And that human actions contributed to it becoming a desert (logging, poor agriculture practices, over-population, etc.).

Before I jumped on this particular bandwagon I'd love to see predictions and ramifications a green and growing Sahara might cause to the rest of the world.

rschroeder
Level 21

Japan developing software and methods to predict crime?

Has anyone ever heard of George Orwell's Thought Police?  If not, PLEASE read "1984"!

vinay.by
Level 16

Cool article

vinay.by
Level 16

After months of hard work, it's good to sit back and enjoy what you built with your own hands: -> Nice

ecklerwr1
Level 19

Wow your firepit works better than mine.  Mines hooked up to a propane cylinder and I got one of the valves that's supposed to mix the air with the propane but I always got black smoke off the thing and it smelled like propane so I don't use it much.

gfsutherland
Level 14

Tesla and Elon Musk - Here's an obviously smart person (some would say genius) who doesn't know his own limitations. A great idea is in danger of failing because of hubris.

gfsutherland
Level 14

Awesome firepit!! Well done sir!

ScottRich
Level 12

Nice work!

bobmarley
Level 15

Took this pic this morning as I left for work.

My firepit isn't quite as fancy, its just a bare spot on the ground in front of the stack of wood in the middle of the picture.

Behind it is one of the deer that hang out at my place every day.

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bleggett
Level 12

Some of the newer crosswalks in my area give a reassuring beep after pressing the button.  Others give no feedback, and leave you wondering.  As a frequent pedestrian, the feedback is nice.  Sometimes, less often than I might like, there is a near immediate change in the status of the traffic light, and I get to cross.  Those intersections seem few and far between.

tinmann0715
Level 16

Buttons that don't work:

  • Elevator 'Door Close'
  • Street Crossing button
  • SolarWinds NPM 'Poll Now'

:-)

jkump
Level 15

Awesome job on the fire pit.  That would make it difficult to want to think about monitoring anything...  

Enjoyed the links as well!

jm_sysadmin
Level 13

Its the science version of

Minority Report (film) - Wikipedia

tallyrich
Level 15

Perception means a lot. There are a lot of followers of Musk and think he's great - I'm not taking a side here - but he should also consider his public image before making such decisions. On the other side of that - there are a lot of "fake" buttons, but they give a bit of security. People push them thinking that they are making something happen and when it does they feel responsible. (Most crosswalks that I have come across are on timers associated with the traffic lights - yet there are those big "push me" buttons to make people feel like they are getting attention. Yes, I know there are some locations where this isn't true, but really how does one know which button works and which is just there to make you feel warm and fuzzy?)

df112
Level 13

Nice firepit! And lots of interesting articles as always.  Thanks for sharing.

vinay.by
Level 16

Tesla shares crash after Elon Musk smokes joint on live web show - Hmm

vinay.by
Level 16

Geology Is Like Augmented Reality For The Planet - this defn is a good write up and makes us think where we stand as of now

vinay.by
Level 16

Microsoft Requires Paid Parental Leave for Subcontractors - this defn is a great intiative

vinay.by
Level 16

Japan developing ‘pre-crime’ artificial intelligence to predict money laundering and terror attacks - are you serious???? wow, super cool

vinay.by
Level 16

Illusion of control: Why the world is full of buttons that don't work - Nice article

vinay.by
Level 16

British Airways Says Customers' Financial Data Was Hacked In 380,000 Transactions - Niece piece of work

vinay.by
Level 16

Adding clean energy to the Sahara could make it rain (and not just figuratively) - Great write up with some intense figures and artifacts

About the Author
Thomas LaRock is a Head Geek at SolarWinds and a Microsoft® Certified Master, SQL Server® MVP, VMware® vExpert, and a Microsoft Certified Trainer. He has over 15 years experience in the IT industry in roles including programmer, developer, analyst, and database administrator.