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Travel

Clean Water For Kenya

Posted in Philanthropy, Societal Values, Travel on April 2nd, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

My business school buddy Jeremy Farkas is heading off to Kenya soon.  He says: I’ll be developing marketing and distribution programs to broaden access to clean water for families living on as little as a few dollars a day.  Every year over 1.6 million people, largely children under the age of 5, die of diseases […]

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Dinocams – The legacy of SLR cameras in the 21st century

Posted in Analysis, Gadgets, Geek, Travel on March 1st, 2009 by leodirac – 6 Comments

DSLR cameras make very little sense today. Modern imaging technology is rapidly turning them into dinosaurs. The forces keeping them alive are a combination of a physical legacy in hunks of glass, and aspirational marketing. I’ll explain, but first, what’s a DSLR and why don’t they make sense? Background on SLRs and DSLRs (If you what “f-stop” means, feel free to skip ahead to the next section.) SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. Practically speaking it refers to a camera where you can change the lens. You look through the same lens that actually takes the picture, letting you put…

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Preparing for External Brain Failure

Posted in Gadgets, Technology, Transhumanism, Travel on April 18th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Charles Stross’s book Accelerando has a hilarious scene where a highly-augmented human loses his glasses which are his primary interface to the computer systems which support his thinking. The character is so used to relying on these external systems for support that his immediate response is “Who am I?” In first aid, we learn to rank somebody’s level of alertness and orientation by asking them if they know their name, where they are, what time it is and what happened, getting additional points for each successively harder question. Without his glasses, this human was unable to answer even the easiest…

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Problems relying on network time

Posted in Technology, Transhumanism, Travel on March 10th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Problems relying on network time

Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM I’m flying to Mexico to enjoy spring break. And tonight, according to congress, Daylight Savings Time begins, which means the clocks should move ahead an hour. The real question is if the computers which are running the clocks are going to listen to congress or not. Normally I preach that network time is so much more reliable than manual, independent clocks that drift. But today is totally different. I’m trying to figure out what alarm I can set to wake up in time to get to the airport. I can’t trust my “smart” cell phone….

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Interesting Times in China

Posted in Business, China, Geography, Investing, Societal Values, Transhumanism, Travel on November 5th, 2006 by leodirac – 3 Comments

“May you live in interesting times.” -Ancient Chinese Proverb (actually, it isn’t.) The idea behind this saying is that times of rapid change are generally quite painful. Historically interesting times are those involving wars and revolutions — things where lots of people die. Growth and improvement have only come through very slow gradual change. But in today’s China, this is anything but true. Right now is one of the most interesting times in China’s long history, and for the majority of the country, it’s fantastic. (If we all work hard, that kind of intersting time might be behind us.) We…

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The Best Foreign Language Phrasebooks

Posted in China, Ego, Travel on November 5th, 2006 by leodirac – 2 Comments

I’m currently traveling in mainland China. One of my primary reasons to be here is to practice my Mandarin. I lived in the town of Jinan for the better part of 2001, and by the end of my stay had a rough conversational grasp of the language. For cultural and geopolitical reasons I’d like to keep this skill. I’m also planning on going to China’s Global Debutante Ball in Beijing in 2008 and a little force-fed practice now can’t hurt. I think of myself as a dilettante polyglot – I have or have had a smattering of many languages –…

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