Login

News of Very Narrow Interest

They promised us jetpacks

‘You are not thinking. You are merely being logical.” Mr. Spock being admonished by Captain Kirk on the Starship Enterprise? Actually, this quote belongs to Danish physicist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr.

 

Let’s try another one. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” That observation belongs to none other than iconic 20th-century genius Albert Einstein.

 

Baby you can (self-drive) my car

Judging by the many car commercials showing an oblivious (but happy) driver saved by technology from hitting a pedestrian, the campaign for the autonomous driving vehicle is shifting into high gear. Apparently, no one will be safe unless we agree to share (and eventually abandon) the driver’s seat.

A Luddite rant from an aging baby boomer? No. Although I do resent having it shoved down my throat, based on projected safety stats, some or all of it is probably inevitable. 

The high cost of low ambitions

“Oh, the humanity!” has long been associated with radio broadcaster Herbert Morrison’s anguished cry as the giant airship Hindenburg burst into flames in May of 1937.

Who speaks for Uncle Billy?

It bothers me that Mr. Potter got away with it. He skates and (after the credits roll) everyone else falls through the ice. It’s a wonderful life, for Mr. Potter.

A cynical take on a beloved classic? Perhaps. Looking through a contemporary lens reveals a few cracks in this veneer of fellowship and goodwill.

Looking Through the Water Glass

“Bottle or tap?” was the familiar question as I sat down recently at a Boston restaurant. “Tap, of course … after all, we flooded four towns to get it!” The puzzled look on the waiter’s face meant that I had once again achieved my petty goal for a teachable moment. Like most people, this guy had no idea where his drinking water came from … no idea about Quabbin.

Losing our grip on reality 2.0

Regardless of where one stands on the current controversy about the “statue worthiness” of various historical figures, we can all agree on one thing. These people actually existed in real life. A low bar to be sure, but from a reality perspective not the lowest. That distinction would go to the plethora of statues around the country of actors as the fictional characters they played on TV or in the movies.

Avast, ye Mateys!

For the record, Sept. 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. This conjures up an image of a guy with a peg leg, eye patch and parrot on his shoulder, men like Captain Kidd and Blackbeard. But like most things these days, pirates are not that easily defined. They can be foppish, like Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” or murderous hijackers, like the Somali pirates who took Tom Hanks hostage in “Captain Phillips.”

Thinking of you

Although no one knows what tomorrow will bring, a small ray of certainty recently brightened the summer holiday season. I’m referring to Aug. 20, Thinking of You Day. While browsing through birthday cards at the Papyrus store in Boston’s Prudential Center I was confronted with an entire section of cards devoted to this special day.