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 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Success Isn't about Fancy Titles. Focus on This Instead.

Re: Columbus Kentucky

Steve Salo wrote the following:

I have never been there but I am quite familiar with Columbus Kentucky. It was made famous in the civil war because of it's location within Kentucky and also lying on the Mississippi river (just a little south of the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers). Rivers were the main "interstate" means of travel back in that day, and also provided natural barriers for defense. Early in the war, Kentucky declared neutrality and prohibited any northern or southern troops to invade their state. Kentucky being a border state could easily have tipped the scales in the southern favor if they had succeeded. Lincoln's famous quote was "I would like God on our side, but we need Kentucky".

About six months after the war started. Leonidas Polk (a southern general) violated Kentucky's neutrality and set up a fort at Columbus to guard traffic on the river. His goal was to prevent union traffic from penetrating the deep south via the MS river. Since the south was first to violate neutrality, Ulysses Grant used the opportunity to fight a battle there (actually directly across the river in Belmont) and "liberate" Kentucky. The battle was a minor win, but was given much publicity in the press because the north needed a win after losing badly at Bull Run. The battle was successful, and from a political standpoint it was very successful to gain Kentucky's loyalty. It was Grant's first battle, and the important lesson he learned form it was that "the enemy is often as afraid of you, as you are of him". Throughout the remainder of the war Grant applied this principal and fought with a vigorous offense. 

Eventually the fort at Columbus fell, and Grant also captured two more confederate river forts (Henry and Donnelson) which opened up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. At fort Donnelson he captured nearly 13,000 confederate soldiers. Donnelson was an amazing victory in so many ways. That left the upper Mississippi in the hands of the Union and later Grant would seize the entire river down through New Orleans by eliminate a nearly impregnable fort at Vicksburg, MS. And fort Henry and Donnelson opened up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers allowing union access to all of Tennessee, Northern Alabama, and Northern Mississippi. The battles in the Eastern theatre still to this day get the most publicity, however the Civil war was truly won in the western theatre.

Grant is considered by military historians to be among the top generals in world history, right up there with Alexander the Great, Napoleon, etc. Unfortunately, his subsequent presidency was not as spectacular, although not terrible either. Grant had to oversee reconstruction and integrating millions of black slave into a free society - with factions from both the north and south who fought any improvement in the civil rights of the former slaves. As a result of a difficult presidency, his military honors have not always been fully realized in this century.

Steve Salo

Columbus Kentucky

I was looking at a map and I just happened to see that there is a town called Columbus in Kentucky. It is microscopic, and not near anything except the the Mississippi river. Downtown consists of a very small post office and a restaurant or bar called "Jen's Place", and that's it. Next to the river is a park and a Civil War Museum.

Sometimes, I wonder why a few towns exist at all. This is even true for some places I have lived in, like Little York, Indiana.


The Poison of Nostalgia

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


The first roundabout I ever saw was in my neighborhood of Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City. It was fairly small, and replaced a 4 way intersection. As you approached it there was a sign that said "Traffic Circle" which created some confusion in my mind as to whether it should be called a roundabout or a traffic circle.

It turns out the two terms are not for the same thing. Traffic Circles are larger and do no require you to yield before entering. Roundabouts are smaller, and you must yield before you enter. The traffic is slower on roundabouts than traffic circles, making them safer.

In the last decade we have seen an explosion of roundabouts and I like them. They are safer and faster than normal intersections.


Sunday, January 7, 2018


I pronounced "Erudite" with a long "U" sound, but I watched about five videos on how to pronounce the word, and all seem to be a short U.  In fact, most sounded like a short "A" sound which makes little sense to me.

In this regard, I notice that many of the short vowel sounds pronounced in English don't seem that distinct from each other, at least in the United States.  Maybe this is why so many speakers from the British Empire use long vowel sounds, just the opposite of American speakers.  For example, "Evolution" with a long E sound.