Posts tagged “soapbox”.

God our Universe?

I saw a pulp-science show the other month offering a scientific explanation of life after death experiences with quantum entanglement. My question to you: What do you think of a sentient universe? That is, one with the ability to think, being quantum-ly entangled to every living brain within it. Does that make science into a religion?

With the multitude of stars and the ability for entanglement to work instantly without regard to distance, think about the possibility of billions upon billions of sentient life forms throughout the universe, all contributing to a higher, universal consciousness.

Maybe religion wasn’t far off with an “all knowing” or omnipotent god?

Think about each brain as massively parallel organic computer, and think of quantum entanglement as a network bringing them all together as a supercomputer cluster. Think about the processing capabilities! Think about the intellect of the macro-consciousness! Mind boggling!

Have we mere mortals peered into Heaven?  Have we just glimpsed the mind of God?

Download all of Facebook ???

So, I was looking for old Facebook entries today to figure out when I did certain things (video project related). I tried clicking all the “See Older Posts…”, “see more…”, and “view all XX comments…” links to expand the page so I could dump it to a PDF file. Ha! I got to the end of all my posts; but, while trying to expand all the comments Facebook jumped me to another page and I had nothing. I said to myself, “Self, there aught to be a better way right? I should be able to see all my old posts… I should be able to search all my old posts. Heck, I should be able to download all my stuff from Facebook!”

Well, looks like someone else thought of that too. Just last month, October 6th, Facebook gave it’s users the option to download EVERYTHING associated with their Facebook account. Every post made to your WALL, all your photos, all your videos, all the comments on your photos and videos, your profile, your events, your messages, even a list of all your friends. I found this after a short and sweet Google search.

Yes, you know me! I did it right away! When you click, “Download my Information” it tells you it’s going to take a while. They send an email to the email address Facebook has on record when the ZIP file is ready for download. Don’t be alarmed. I’ve been on Facebook for close to a year now and my ZIP archive of everything was 762 Megabytes. It took about an hour or two to compile everything and on my broadband connection, it took 10 minutes to download. After I downloaded it, I UN-ZIPPED it, wondering what I’d find.

What did I find? I found the most useable archive of information I could have imagined. Extremely well done. There were several directories, one of which was HTML. Jumping in there and clicking on Wall.html got me to a local copy of all my Facebook information in one easy, searchable, HTML file! But then what did I really expect from web developers? They stuck with what they knew. They did what they do best. I was extremely impressed.

Actually, re-reading and editing this post I said to myself, “Self, they should have put a readme.txt or an index.html in the top directory.” And when I checked, both files were there. I just immediately went digging to see what was under the hood and wound up at the same place via a different path.

So what? So, you should download all your information to really conceptualize what Facebook knows about you. It’s easy, it’s informative, and it’s really cool to have a copy for yourself.

MythBusters Kills people!

“Guns don’t kill people… Mythbusters kill people… when people try what the MythBusters do on TV at home!”

Jamie Hyneman, in the last episode of MythBusters said “[Guns] kill people.” He’s so wrong. A gun can not do anything by itself. It’s a tool and is wielded by a person — a thinking, breathing, individual who is solely responsible for their actions and the use of that firearm.

I’m saddened to hear this otherwise thoughtful individual say otherwise.

To Change One Simple Picture

I really like Apple’s new Snow Leopard OS. If you look back through my blog you’ll see my trials and tribulations I went through, lamenting the upgrade. I felt that Leopard was never quite up to par — that it fell short of Tiger in many ways. I really liked Tiger, that was a solid operating system.

But in any good OS, you have to be able to tweak it; customize it in seemingly mindless little ways to make it yours. It starts with naming your machine. There’s a big difference between a machine named “Dilbert” or one named “Loki”. And you want to start from there and expand. Tweaking your background, cursors, file icons, screen animations, you name it… it should be tweakable and fit into your Norse Mythological scheme or your Dilbert Philosophy.

Please don’t misunderstand me where I’m about to go next. I love astronomy. I like Apple’s sense of style and design. But, I never liked the Aurora.jpg that was the default background for Leopard. I wasn’t happy when it became my default background when I upgraded to Snow Leopard from Tiger. And I wasn’t happy when changing my Desktop background as an administrator there wasn’t a checkbox to Change Login Background also.

It annoyed me. I really grew to despise that image. And for months I’ve searched and searched for the solution — how do I eradicate Aurora.jpg from displaying on my mac? Finally I recently became obsessed and refusing defeat I continued searching Google. Coincidentally, Googles new “Bing” tools made the difference and I finally found the solution.

Open up Terminal and enter in the following commands.

cd /System/Library/CoreServices/
mv DefaultDesktop.jpg DefaultDesktop.old.jpg
sudo mv DefaultDesktop.jpg DefaultDesktop.old.jpg
sudo cp /Library/Desktop\ Pictures/Nature/Horizon.jpg ./DefaultDesktop.jpg

I chose to copy the Horizon.jpg image to the DefaultDesktop.jpg image. But you can choose any image you like.

And that is how to change the default background image for the login page on Mac OS X version 10.6 otherwise known as Snow Leopard. And just as a side note and a way to help other “search engine challenged people” like myself, it helps to figure out the file name of the image you’re searching for and not just call it space image, leopard default image, and other generic things like that.

I’m a little disappointed in Apple. I think it was MUCH too complicated for the Mac experience. I think Apple should pay closer attention to making every little thing easy to customize… and easy to restore to its default values in future versions of their Operating Systems.

It will be the little things that matter in the near future too. The devil is in the details. Google is pressing the court and developing Android to complete with the iPhone. It won’t be long until they follow in Apple’s footsteps and take a Linux kernel and make an OS that rivals Mac OS (although Apple used BSD Unix instead of Linux, I can’t see Google making that same choice).

An example of the current US Healthcare problem

Dog bite!

While I was vacationing in New Jersey I was bitten by a dog.  Actually, first the dog went to bite me but wasn’t fast enough.  Then, I choked him with his collar and made him stand on his hind legs to breath.  When he calmed down and stopped acting like a wild animal I let him down at which time he immediately resumed acting like a wild animal and finally succeeded in bitting me.

I had a very large puncture in my arm which bled profusely.  I decided I needed to go to the Emergency Room.

My Hospital Experience

I had a tetanus shot a few months before during my annual physical.  I also knew the dog was healthy.  So, my the biggest problem I faced was an infection from the bite.  So, before going to the Emergency Room I cleaned my wound and then drove myself to the Hospital.

My father and I drove to the Robert Wood Johnson Memorial Hospital at Hamilton.  I checked in and waited patiently in the reception area.  I was given two pieces of sterile gauze for the bleeding and while I sat waiting I used the sanitary hand foam on the wall to further clean and disinfect my wound.  Within fifteen (15) minutes we were lead back into the treatment area of the Emergency Room.  There we waited approximately forty five (45) minutes until someone trained to practice medicine saw me.  While waiting, I had to go to the bathroom.  After going to the bathroom I washed my hands and the puncture wound on my arm with hot soapy water and foam hand sanitizer.  When I got back to the treatment area where I had been waiting, I disposed of all my bloody towels and gauze in the red bio-hazard garbage can and took another piece of gauze to keep pressed against my wound.  My father informed me I had missed John, the Medical Technician.  I said, “They’ll be back.  They’ll need this room eventually.”

In a few minutes John came back, looked at my wound and was surprised at how clean it was.  He took my vital signs, blood pressure, oxygen, pulse and temperature.  Then we waited some more for the Doctor to come in.  It’s important to note that the Doctor put gloves on his hands, but he never touched me.  He asked me about tetanus and rabies, and I explained that I was only worried about infection.  I came because the wound was large enough I thought it needed to be stitched closed.  He advised me that it was an infection risk if it were closed and I’d just have to live with a scar there. I asked about shaving my arm to keep the hair out of the wound and I was told that was not necessary.

World class health care?

The Medical Technician, John, squirted some triple antibiotic on the wound and slapped a large band-aid on my hairy arm. I picked up a prescription for some antibiotics and was asked how I was going to pay for my visit.  My insurance has a $50 co-pay.  So I gladly put that on a credit card and went to the nearest drug store to fill my prescription.

Not counting the antibiotic that were prescribed (2 pills per day for 7 days) the actual emergency room treatment I received lasted all of two hours.  In two hours the large band-aid I had been given by John had filled up with blood and was leaking.  I had to remove the band-aid, along with a large portion of arm hair that stuck to it, to redress the wound.  At this time I shaved my own arm.  Three band-aids a day is enough reason to look slightly silly by having a bare patch around an extra large band-aid.  Plus, hair trapped in a wound is just plain unsanitary.

The bill…

Today I checked my health care account and I was shocked.  Just to remind you, my medical treatment consisted of being ignored for more than an hour and a half, having my vital signs taken, speaking to a Doctor for all of five minutes about the injury, three pieces of sterile gauze, a smidgen of neosporin, a large band-aid and a prescription for amoxicillin.  The Emergency Room charged my Health Care company $1004.46!  My Health Insurance agreed to pay them $465.00 to which the hospital agreed.  $373.50 of that cost is covered by my plan.  So I’m personally responsible for $91.50.  $91.50 for three pieces of gauze, neosporin, a large band-aid, and an antibiotic prescription!  In my opinion the services rendered were barely worth my $50 deductible!

The solution — Fast Food Medicine

I would have rather walked up to a counter like in any fast food chain to be greeted with a cheerful hello and a list of services and prices up front.  The Doctor’s hourly rate is $300 per hour, PA’s and RN’s are $150 per hour and Medical Technicians are $75 per hour, but that’s only the actual time they spend in the treatment room with you. A Doctor’s time comes to $5 per minute.  Prescriptions have an additional $20 fee — seems fair.  There’s a $20 fee for incidentals used, gloves, gauze, band-aids, etc.  Sure, sure, sure.  My total would have been less than $90. If medical services were priced like this I wouldn’t have a co-pay on my insurance.

I’d love to see the itemized breakdown by the hospital to justify a bill of $1004.46, which I think is just completely absurd.