The latest on real estate recordings and new technology from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Lowell
This Sunday’s New York Times had an interesting article about machine intelligence with an even more interesting headline: “Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man”. The article states that a group of computer scientists are “impressed and alarmed by advances in artifical intelligence”. The article remind me of one of my favorite movie scenes. It takes place in Stanley Kubricks 2001 A Space Odyssey. The H.A.L. 9000 computer (refered to by the crew as HAL) “was the latest result in machine intelligence which can reproduce, though some experts still prefer to use the word mimic most of the activities of the human brain and with incalculably greater speed and reliability”. HAL caused a mysterious equipment failure aboard the Discovery jeopardizing the mission. The astronaunts decided to disconnect HAL, but the computer discovers the plot and killed two of the three scientists and trapped the third, named Dave outside of the ship.
Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Dave Bowman: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: Where the hell’d you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you’re going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.
Dave does manage to return to the ship and begins to dismantle the H.A.L 9000
HAL: Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave? Dave, I think I’m entitled to an answer to that question.
HAL: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.
HAL: I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.
As HAL is being shut down
HAL: I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.
Dave Bowman: Yes, I’d like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It’s called “Daisy.”
[sings while slowing down]
HAL: Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.
HAL is out…
Now that’s an example of a machine going too far.
Since we have become so very very familiar with rain this summer I figured a list of “rain facts” would keep us right in the same summer mood we’re now accustom to.
1. Rain drops are really NOT shaped like tear drops…they look more like hamburg buns with a flat bottom.
2. Larger raindrops can split into many small ones as they fall to the ground.
3. Raindrops hit the ground at a speed of approximately two meters per second.
4. Rain has a PH level of about 5.6.
5. In Botswana the word “pula” means both rain and money reflecting the importance of rain to the economy of the region.
6. The pleasant scent of summer rain comes from a chemical called petrichor which is found in plants and released into the atmosphere during rain storms.
7. The city of Seattle has taken a bad rap when it comes to rain. Seattle averages 37.1 inches of rain a year, less than New York City which averages 46.2 inches.
8. The rainiest city in the United States is Ketchikan, Alaska which averages 200 inches a year.
9. The highest recorded rainfall in one year was in 1861 in Cherrapunji, India when 904.9 inches fell.
10. And Finally if we all click our heals three times and say “I want it to go away, I want it to go away, I want it to go away”…. the rain may stop and the sun just may come out.
I just got these in a forwarded email. They are called questions that haunt you. I bet at least one of these will make you wonder…”I never thought of that”.
1. Can you cry underwater?
2. Why do you put your two cents in…but get only a penny for your thoughts? Where does the other penny go?
3. Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
4. What disease did cured Ham actually have?
5. Why are you IN a movie, but ON TV?
6. Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?
7. Why does Goofy stand erect but Pluto is on all fours? They’re both dogs.
8. Do the Alphabet Song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?
If you like Disney, you’ll love twisney.com. Scott Mitchel, a software engineer developed Twisney. Mitchell conceived the fun site while planning a trip to Disney World with his family. Basically twisney.com creates a live profile of the theme park using photos, emails and text messages sent by visitors. As families travel around the park they upload cell phone pictures and text messages to the Twisney website. This information is then “mashed up” with the Google Earth view of the Disney World. Simply move your mouse over an amusement ride and the info uploaded by visitors appears. Live reports are also available through a forum which tips visitors off to the length of lines and the condition of rides. I am not a Disney person, but this website is cool.
I must admit I am disappointed and “a little” upset. Have you heard yet?…British archaeologists have discovered the secret of Stonehenge. You remember Stonehenge? That’s the unusal group of large stones arranged in a circle…the one Chevy Chase knocked down in National Lampoon’s European Vacation. This bundle of rocks has been around for about 5,000 years…and in my entire 56 years of life no one knew its purpose. Sure there has been all kinds of speculation: Stonehenge was an ancient Astronomical Observatory…Stonehenge was a religious complex…Stonehenge was one of the world’s first drive thru fast food restaurants, etc. The speculation went on and on…until this weekend when some really smart people discovered that Stonehenge served as a burial ground…”It is now clear that burials were a major component of Stonehenge in all its main stages, said Mike Parker Pearson an archaeologist at the University of Sheffield in England”. What!?!?!? So, it is like a fancy, dancy cemetery or something…Now, I call that disappointing. I was hoping it was something mystical, something exciting, that it held some hidden secret that when unlocked would benefit all mankind…if you multiple the square root of the weight of each stone times the cosine of the stone’s height then divide the total by pie you’ll have the formular for a clean, inexpensive, renewable energy source, capable of running an automobile and heating a home…but I always have been a dreamer.
At home I use a wireless router to connect to the Internet…and I love it. Since I own a laptop I go anywhere in the house and I am still connected. It is the greatest. Last Saturday I noticed my trustie baby would not connect to the wireless router. Oh no, something is wrong. I wondered, could I connect the old fashion way? ..using a paaatttcccch cord? Yes, yes that worked…but what about my wireless…what about my freeeeedom to go anywhere in my house and be Interneted. I need that! I decided to call technical support. I’ve gotten great results doing that in the past.
Rep: ”Sir, please shut your computer off and remove the battery.”
Me: “I did, it is still not connecting”.
Rep: ”Sir, restart your computer and hit F10 rapidly. This will start your BOIS”. Please return it to the Normal mode.
Me: “I did, it is still not connecting…what could be the problem”.
Rep: “Sir, hold you computer over your head and jump up and down while singing The Beatle’s song “Get Back”.
Me: What? “Get Back?”
Rep: “Yes Sir, This will restore the computer to its default settings.”
Me (huffing): “I did, it is still not connecting.”
Rep: “Sir, it looks like we need to service your laptop.”
Me: “What, will someone come to the house?”
Rep: “Sir, tech support does not do house calls. You will need to ship the computer to us?”
Me: (shaky voice) “What? You want me to send you my baby?”
Rep: “Sir, you can be assured that your computer will be in competent, caring hands. We will treat it as if it were our own.”
I was in a panic. I couldn’t concentrate. The service representative explained the procedure for shipping my laptop. I didn’t comprehend a word. I got off the phone. My wife looked at me.
Wife: “What’s the matter? You look like you just saw a ghost?”
Me: “My laptop has to be admitted, I mean sent out to be repaired.”
Wife: “Yeah, so send it. What do you have to do to get it to them?”
Me: “I don’t know. I wasn’t listening when they explained it”.
Wife: “Are you serious? It is just a computer”.
Me: “No,… no, you’re wrong. You don’t understand…It is more than a computer. It is part of my essence. Looking at my Internet favorites is like looking into my soul. My browsers is an old friend I trust and care about. Why, don’t you understand? My laptop, “my” Internet… I connect, therefore I exist. It is a slice of my very being”.
Wife: “Well, unslice it and get it fixed. I don’t want to listen to you crying about it”.
So, some time in the next twenty four to forty eigth hours a box with an accompanying shipping label will arrive at my home…my laptop will be sent to some far off, unknown location. Strange hands will probe its insides. Then in seven to nine business days it will come back as good as new, capable of wireless connection, again…While waiting, I’ll comfort myself by singing “Yesterday” and counting the minutes as if they were hours.
Him: All rise!…Ladies and Gentlemen I want to present “wOOt”…
Us: W00t? What is w00t?
Him: Ladies and Gentlemen wOOt is Merriam Webster’s word of the year.
Us: Don’t you mean woot with the letter “o” not OO (zeros).
Him: Ladies and Gentlemen again the word of the year is wOOt and it is spelled wOOt, not woot.
Us: What the heck is, are, was, or were a wOOt?
Him: A wOOt is an expression of happiness.
Us: I’ve never heard of it.
Him: wOOt has been around for a long time and comes from the gaming world.
Us: Gambling huh…We figured something like that.
Him: No, not that gaming world… the technology gaming world, as in video games.
Him: Ladies and Gentlemen wOOt is like saying “yay”
Us: Then why not just say… “yay”? And what’s up with the OO (zeros) instead of the “o”?
Him: In the words of John Morse, President of Merriam-Webster “Gamers commonly substitute numbers and symbols for the letters they resemble creating what they call l33t speak”.
Us: l33t? What in heaven’s name is l33t speak?
Him: l33t speak is gamer talk for leet?
Us: leet? Isn’t that a vegetable?
Him: No, leet is gamer for elite?
Us: You are wearing us out.
Him: I tried tOO.
History has always been my favorite subject and recently, the subset of history that most interests me is how new technology has changed lives and culture in the past. I recently came across a book named “Rethinking Thin” by Gina Kolata, a top science writer at the New York Times. The book contains an interesting example of how technology changes culture in the chapter about the history of diets and attitudes towards weight in America. Kolata asserts that our national obsession with thinness developed in the early 1900s because of three technological innovations. The first was the inexpensive bathroom scale. Previously, if you wanted to know how much you weighed, you went to the general store or some similar place and stepped onto a big contraption that had a large and very public display of the weight recorded. With the advent of the small, inexpensive scale, everyone soon had one in the privacy of the home bathroom, and tracking one’s weight on a daily basis became a national obsession. A second innovation helped this national trend. That was improvements in the methods of making mirrors. Previously, mirrors were very expensive and very small, but by 1905, large, full-sized mirrors became both affordable and readily available. With a full-size mirror in everyone’s house, people soon began paying more attention to the appearance of their figures. The final technological innovation was the ability to inexpensively print photographs and colorful illustrations in glossy, mass circulation magazines. An artist named Charles Dana Gibson, drawing for Life magazine, came up with an idealized image of the American woman – soon to be known as a “Gibson Girl” – that was tall, thin and athletic. Gibson’s work grew so popular that he was paid what would be equal to $2 million in today’s dollars for one year’s worth of drawings. So one hundred years ago, the bathroom scale, the full-length mirror, and the widespread distribution of the “Gibson girl” image in magazines, combined to create an American obsession with body weight that continues to this day. But with Thanksgiving just days away, you might want to grab Kolata’s book: She concludes that the most persuasive scientific evidence today shows that our national “obesity epidemic” is in fact a very positive evolutionary trend. That’s not a bad conclusion to have in mind when sitting down to dinner this Thursday.
I’m going to admit this right from the start, I AM a fair-weather fan and I AM proud of it. It took me years to achieve this state of sports nirvana. When the Red Sox win I love them…when they lose, I call them bums. Ahhhhh…It is so liberating. Take it from me, the key to being a good fair-weather fan is admitting it (convincing your wife to be one helps too). Last week, a friend of mine said to me after I kicked the Sox around, “Hey, you know what your problem is? You’re a fair-weather fan”. ..“You’re wrong” I yelled back, “It’s not my problem it’s my SOLUTION”. My epiphany came after years of allowing the Red Sox to crush me, heart and soul (I refuse to re-list the tragedies, but you know them… Buckner, Dent etc). So now, while the poor “believers” panic watching the Sox blow a twelve game lead, I just sit back and say, “What do you expect? They’re a bunch of bums”…Ahhhhh, that feels so good! On a more pleasant note…how about MY Patriots.
I found this quiz in “Tourist News”, a Southern Maine arts and entertainment publication. It is titled “Every Tom, Dick and Harry is named John”. It was written by Joseph Morrison. Here is how it works…fill in the blanks with the appropriate last name of the person named “John”.
1.The first person to sign the Declaration of Independence was John ____________.
2.A longtime conductor of the Boston Pops was named John _________
3.John ___________ was a member of the Beatles.
4.Author John ____________ wrote the Novel “The Firm.
5.The 35th President of the United State was named John ___________
6.John _____________ is married to a Ketchup Heiress
7.John ______________was the first American to orbit the earth.
8.The musician named John ____________ wrote the song “Rocky Mountain High”.
9.America’s second president was named John ______________.
10.Billionaire John ________________ made his fortune in the oil industry starting the Standard Oil Company.
Check below for answers…
1. Hancock 2. Williams 3. Lennon 4. Grisham 5. Kennedy 6. Kerry 7. Glenn 8. Denver 9. Adams 10. Rockefeller
Sometimes I think it’s me…maybe I just don’t get it. I read this one in USA Today this morning. NASA has agreed to take Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber along on the next space shuttle mission. Apparently, this year is the 30th anniversary of the release of the movie Star Wars . “What better way to celebrate the 30th anniversary than to send the original lightsaber into space with the shuttle” said Julie Kuenstle, Space Center Huston spokesperson. Hey Julie, are you kidding? It’s a movie. Maybe I’m stupid, but I thought the lightsabers in “the movie” were really just special effects equipment invented by George Lucas. I wonder…is someone playing a joke on NASA? According to Johnson Space Center officials the “saber” will remain in storage throughout the entire mission…Oh no! Are you kidding? What will our astronauts do if they encounter someone from the “Evil Empire”? (no, not the Yankees).
Imagine being famous enough to have a “fake”…I mean, like someone who fakes being you. Well, Apple guru Steve Jobs has that dubious honor. Jobs’ fake is referred to as, what else… “Fake Steve Jobs”. “Fake Steve Jobs” has been the anonymous author of a blog for more than a year featuring a caricature of the real Apple genius. The “Real Steve Jobs” has attracted great attention in the computer world with his hero/villain image. This tongue and cheek look at “Real Steve” reeks with humor… many other famous techies are also mentioned in the blog, usually by their nickname…for instance, “Fake Steve” calls Bill Gates Beastmaster and Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt, Squirrel Boy. “Fake Steve Jobs” labeled open source enthusiast “freetards”… but all things come to an end and so to Fake Steve. The “Fake Steve Jobs” has been found out. It is none other than Danial Lyons of Forbes Magazine. If you can believe it, Lyons was able to attract 700,000 visitors a month to read about the antics of the “Fake Steve”. It will be interesting to see if the popularity of the site diminishes now that he has been outed.
Today is my first day back to the registry after a two-week trip to Germany. A quarter of a century ago, long before I had even heard of a registry of deeds, the U.S. Army sent me to the same destination for three years. This was my first trip back. I didn’t visit any land records offices there, but I can provide some other observations. When you’re cruising at 120 kilometers per hour on the autobahn, it really doesn’t seem like you’re driving 75 m.p.h. Perhaps this is because other cars zoom past you like you’re not moving. (Our cab to the airport reached 160 kph which is 99.4 mph). Folks drive this fast despite the cost of gasoline which is 1.35 Euros per liter. With the tank of my rental car near empty, I pumped 50 liters of Super – that’s 13.2 gallons. That cost me nearly 70 Euros, which at an exchange rate that mirrored the price of a liter of gas – 1 Euro to $1.35 – cost $94 or more than $7 per gallon. The $2.93 per gallon we pay around here doesn’t seem so bad any more. Of course, the metric system does work in your favor once in a while. In restaurants, a quarter liter bottle of water costs more than a half liter mug of some of the world’s best beer. Enough economics. It’s good to be back. Thanks to Tony for keeping up the blog in my absence.
Will MySpace, Facebook and other social networking sites soon find their way onto computers at the registry of deeds? Speakers at a recent technology conference in Boston apparently think so. Today’s Globe reports that the “Enterprise 2.0” conference at Boston’s Westin Waterfront hotel predicted that “wikis, blogs, videos and mashups” would soon play as vital a role in business as they do in social networking. While none of these applications were developed with a business purpose in mind, their functionality it extremely adaptive and, as time goes by, more and more young people who have grown up with these things as an integral part of their lives will be entering the workforce. As they do settle into jobs, they will bring with them a comfort level with these sites and applications that makes them as natural to use in a business context as the telephone is today. There are doubters, of course. In citing the need for companies to maintain tighter control over what goes on in their names, computer consultant Tim Scannell said of using social networking tools at work, that “the potential is there to turn the key to the zoo over to the animals.” Despite concerns of this type, it’s inevitable that the various communications tools described above and now used by millions will find many uses in a business setting.
Have you heard yet? The Loch Ness Monster is back! ooow I’m scared.
Don’t believe it?…well, Gordon Holmes “claims” to have filmed the “whatever it is” swimming rapidly in the loch (a partially landlocked bay…why don’t they just call it a lake?).
Here is a quote from the amateur scientist…
“I saw something moving and dashed out of the car and switched the camcorder on…About two hundred yards away from me I could see something in the water. It was definitely a creature propelling itself through the water. It was fairly bubbling along the water. It was streaking along.”
Please, don’t be like me and pre-judge poor Mr Holmes. The intial reaction of experts is that the footage was not staged or tampered with. Even the BBC is showing the film!
Personally, I don’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster. I think at best this is some gaint squid, or mutated shark or something…It could even be Bigfoot taking a dip. Whatever it is, and even though I don’t beileve in it…you can bet I’ll be on YouTube tonight watching the video…and I thought Mr Holmes was strange.
I love to blog. It’s fun…although, sometimes when I sit down searching for a topic I feel like Andy Rooney. You know him…the guy on 60 Minutes with the bushy eyebrows…no, not the cranky political one, the one that’s always musing “did you ever wonder why_____?”. Well, this morning I had one of those “did you ever wonder why moments”. I just finished reading and article explaining how scientist discovered a way to give mice the ability to see enhanced colors… My mind raced“did you ever wonder why… scientist don’t do these enhancements to humans”? Hey, I would have volunteered in a second…If something is enhanced, whatever it is, I want it!…the enhanced clarity of an ultra slim High Definition TV powered by DLP technology (got to have it), the enhanced sound on a Bose Acoustimas Home Theater system with 6.1 channel audio (oh, please please, me me)…the enhanced luxury of a Mercedes Benzes S-600 with a 3-value-V12 twin turbo engine (calll meeee Mr Style)…the enhance performance of a really, good quality electric can opener (I know, there is no such thing)…again, enhance it and I want it… And especially if it deals with distinguishing colors. Like most men I need help when it comes to seeing colors. Guys (I really mean men and women here), have you ever had this conversation (or one like it) before?… I’ll bet you have…
Wife: ”You’re not going to wear that tie with that jacket”
Me: It’s blue. What’s wrong with a blue tie with a black jacket”?
Wife: “Your tie is not blue. It’s gray with shades of indigo, cyan and khaki and… your jacket has hints of maroon speckled with magenta. It doesn’t match”…
Me: (lifting my tie up so I can see it closer) Looks gray to me.
“Did you ever wonder why mice get all the good stuff”?
Last week Viacom, the media gaint filed an astounding $1billion lawsuit against YouTube…An attack like this would have sent most companies into a panic, but not YouTube and its parent company Google. This morning YouTube announced it is beginning what it hopes to be an annual tradition…The famous video sharing site will give out awards for “best user created videos.
And the nominees for most inspirational video are…
YouTube will give awards in seven categories: Most creative, most inspirational, best series, best comedy, musician of the year, best commentary and “most adorable video”.
And…You and I will select the winners…Yes, if you are a registered member of YouTube you can vote for your favorite videos…but time is running out. All votes must be in by Friday, March 23 and YouTube will announce the winners on March 25.
Here are some of the nominees:
The band “OK GO” has been nominated for the “treadmill” music video “Here It Goes Again”.
Vloggers Paul Robinett and Peter Oakley for “Geriatric1927″.
and in the category of best series “Ask A Ninja” .
Oh yeah…the winners get a trophy (the design has not been unveiled yet) and will be “prominently” featured on YouTube (whatever that means).
Good eve N ing ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to New York Federal Court…tonight’s heavy weight fight is for a “winner takes all” purse of $1 billion and the right to publish or not publish copyrighted videos on YouTube.
Tonight’s Challenger alleges that the Champ has shown “brazen disregard” for US copyright laws and “deliberately chosen not to take reasonable precautions to deter the rampant infringement on its site” that site is YouTube!
The Champ counters that “YouTube has repescted the legal rights of copyright holders” and is here tonight to fight it out.
But…before I introduce the combatants I would like to call your attention to some important members of tonight’s audience who will be watching our battle with extreme interest…
please give a big around of applauses for…
First…The Raider from Redmond… Microsoft, Miccccroooosoft!!
And here’s one of our older champ’s… Napster. He looks good doesn’t he? I’ll bet he could still go a few rounds...
Coming off a solid victory against the Beatles, we have Apple…come on up here Appppplllllle!!!…good to see you…love the iPod
And also in our audience is the Recording Industry Association of America…Apple, help me here…keep Napster and the Recording Industry apart or we’ll have a fight before the fight.
Now let me introduced tonight’s pugilist…
In the blue corner wearing green, money colored trunks and weighing in with an incredible $10 zillion in equity is the world’s largest search engine Gatling Gun Google…Gooooggggle…Gooooggggle!!!!!
And in the other corner wearing redstone (get it?) colored trunks is the New York Annihilator, the Sultan of South Park, the Comedy Central Crusher, the producer of Nickelodeon, Dream Works and MTV… Viacom…Viiiiaaaacom…Viiiiiaaaacom!!!!!
Ladies and Gentlemen are you ready to rummmbbbble?!?!?!
They sure are.
Did you ever get plutoed?
What’s does that mean?
Ever carry a murse?
I sound like I’m talking in a foreign language don’t I…well, it’s not actually foreign, but it’s not exactly proper English either…”plutoed” is a new dialect word. And…it is an important one too…
What’s the big deal with it?
The American Dialect Society choose “plutoed” as the 2006 Word of the Year…
Who/What the heck is the American Dialect Society?
Good question…The American Dialect society is made up of linguists, grammarians, historians, scholars and other smart people.
Other smart people like me?
How do they decide on the Word of the Year?
Members admit they do not vote with any thought that the word will be inducted in the English language…
Are they serious?
Not really, it is mostly for the fun.
Wait a minute…I still want to know what plutoed means…so I can figure out if I was ever pluoted.
Yes, back to the original question…Plutoed means “to demote or devalue someone or something”…
You mean like the way they “devalued” the once famous planet Pluto?
No, I was never actually “pluoted”… But a company I worked for once moved out of state and didn’t tell me where they were going…Was I plutoed then?
I would say so!…Let me give you a little quiz…See if you can tell me what this dialect word means…”murse”
Let me think…Let me think…”murse”, murse…I know… is it a curse put on someone by an Egyptian munny?
No, a “murse” is a pocketbook carried by a man. OK ,try this one…what does the dialect word ”flog” mean?
“Flog? Flog?”…I’ve got it! Flog is a type of “flu” that effects only dogs…yeah, that’s it Fllllooooog.
Wrong!…”flog” is a fake blog used to promote products. Hey, you better get back to work. If not, you know what Donald Trump would say to you…
Yeah I know…”you’re “plutoed”.
Wishing all a Happy New Year from the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds
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