Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New Amsterdam/New York

Copy of my Facebook post from 2 years ago today.

Events in recent years have impressed upon me the fragility of human life. I have lost friends, family, and associates. This happens with greater frequency as we get older, because most everyone we know is getting older too. However, I have also seen young people die from accidents. For example, a young couple I worked with were hiking in the mountains during a storm and were killed by lightning.

Cancer has claimed the lives of a few people I know.

What can we do about? I think that the first rule of living should be, "Don't do stupid stuff." Stupid stuff can get you killed. Don't take unnecessary risks. Obey the law. Don't do drugs. Drive defensively. Obey the speed limit. Keep your vehicle, especially your tires, properly maintained.

Keep fire extinguishers and working smoke detectors in your home. Get at least two carbon monoxide detectors, because if both alarms go off at the same time then you know it is not just a defective detector. This happened to me, but I also know a whole family that got carbon monoxide poisoning and had to be treated at the hospital.

I think that the second rule of living should be, "Take reasonable steps to protect your health." Don't smoke. Drink in moderation or not at all. Eat as healthy as you can. Consume more plant based foods and less red meat. Eat fewer processed foods and more fresh foods. Exercise.

By the way, there is much research to indicate that sugar is very bad for you and addictive. For this reason, I don't keep any sweets in my home, otherwise I know I would eat them.

This is all common sense, but humans in general have a tendency to ignore common sense. We think that nothing bad will happen to us, but I have seen bad things happen to too many people. There is potential disaster around every corner. This is the reality we live in.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Tuesday, December 25, 2018


Sometimes Christmas is much hustle and bustle, but it is also an opportunity to express our love and affection for all those we care about.

Here is wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.


Friday, November 23, 2018


I have worked for a few companies, and what I have noticed is that they often have relatively small teams working on projects of significant financial impact to the company. For example, 4 or 5 people might work on a project that would bring in a million dollars, or multiple millions of dollars of income to the company. This can vary depending upon the workload and the size of the project.

What this means is that the people doing the work have a heavy responsibility. If the project were to fail to meet expectations, it could cause significant financial damage to the company, and most likely end careers. One person falling down on the job could be disastrous.

Of course, management has a role too, because they have to negotiate contracts and make available the resources needed.

When I see something like a new iPhone come out, my first reaction is to think that maybe hundreds of people developed this product. However, my experience tells me that it probably was a small group of talented and dedicated people. iPhones might be a little different because the product has tens of billions in sales, so Apple probably devotes many resources to its development. I have heard rumors that some companies will have different teams of people compete with each other, which is something you only can afford to do if you are the richest company in the world.

Completely different from this, however, are the credits for major motion pictures. I watched the credits for "The Last Jedi", and at least 900 names scrolled by. It could have easily been over a thousand. Apparently, it takes a great many people to make a movie.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Check this out

I hope this link works.  This is hotel in Tunisia is where they filmed Star Wars for Lars homestead.   Click on the picture on the left to get more pictures.

I don't know if it was a hotel before Star Wars, or if somebody just thought that this would be a great place to put a hotel.  It appears to me as if these underground structures may have already existed before the movie.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matmata,_Tunisia

I've seen deserts in Nevada that looked more hospitable.  

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Flash drives

Around 14 years ago 1GB flash drives were at least $90, and I felt especially privileged when my company gave me one. At the time that seemed like a lot of storage.

Now you can't even buy them. I just saw 128GB for $30.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

The future

Beginning around 5 billion years from now, the Sun will expand, becoming a swollen star called a red giant. By 7.5 billion years in the future, its surface will be past where the Earth's orbit is now, consuming the Earth.

In 500 million years the tectonic plate movement and geological activity on planet Earth will have stopped, causing it to have a similar fate to Mars. The planet will be dry, lifeless and very cold.

Within half a million years it is extremely likely that the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt, wiping out life in several nearby states and causing an environmental catastrophe worldwide. However, we are already due for an eruption, and the underground volcano has shown increased activity over the last 30 years. This is a disaster of enormous scale waiting to happen; we just don't know when it will happen. Fortunately people are looking for ways to relieve some of the pressure that is building up beneath the National Park.

Within 100 years we will be almost completely out of fossil fuels, so we will have to rely on other energy sources. The last remaining fossil fuel will be coal, which is estimated to be gone by the year 2150.

Within 50 years machine intelligence will surpass that of all humans combined. This event has been dubbed "the singularity", and it will forever change our fate. From that moment on machines will make most of the technological advances, and possibly at an ever accelerating rate. Over time humans will become more integrated with technology, and we will no longer be purely biological.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Searching for the word "google" on Google did not give me the definition that I was looking for. It turns out the word I wanted was "googol". I assumed that they mean the same thing, but they do not.  

Sunday, August 26, 2018

"You is"

When I changed some text from "He is" to "you are", I found myself wondering why the verb had to change?  (I might have known this back in High School, but that's been a pretty long time ago.)   Of course, we live in an age where you can find the answer to just about anything in ten seconds or less.  Imagine you were growing up in 1978, or even 1988, and you wanted to know the answer to this question?  First you would ask your parents, who might respond with that this is just how it is, and then you would ask a couple of your teachers until you got a definite answer.

One thing about me is that I will see things that might be rather trivial, but then I will get curious and want to know the answer.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Classic songs

Ever have a song stick with you for most of your life? My parents liked listening to older styles of music.  They had a record with "The Last Farewell" which I listened to many times growing up, so the song has stuck with me:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKdRpDpIR70