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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Here’s a quick look at everything I’ve been thinking about lately:

The Oscars are getting criticized for adding a new category called “Achievement in Popular Film”, which is a way for the Academy to acknowledge the accomplishments of a movie that isn’t critically acclaimed yet still becomes a blockbuster.  Black Panther would have swept this award last year. Infinity War will likely be the favorite this year.  But there’s a different category that I wish they would add an award for: Achievement in an Opening Credit Sequence.  These montages set the mood for the movie or make me completely lose interest in it before it starts.  Some of them are really quite spectacular.  It’s time that we acknowledged their greatness.

I always try to slip on my shoes, even if the laces are already tied, and even if they aren’t slip-ons, rather than just untie them and retie them like a normal person.  I’m sure I can’t be the only one who does this.  Perhaps sneaker and shoe companies should consider this phenomenon when designing shoes and make the back heel of shoes collapsible so as to make them easier to slide on.

I wish there was an IMDB for writers so that I could know what my favorite authors were working on next.

Here’s a new dating concept: Escape room dating.  Put groups of 6-8 single people in an Escape room (3 or 4 members of each sex) and set them loose to try and problem solve their way out of the room.  It’ll be a fun ice-breaker as you’ll get to see everyone in a relaxed atmosphere.  You’ll also get to see how everyone responds to pressure and how well they can play with others.  You can rule out dating the hyper-competitive know-it-alls and give a chance to the shy, quiet type that you worked really well with, the same person who you might have otherwise never spoken to if not for the game.

Here’ a new restaurant concept: Roast master.  A restaurant specializing in Roast Beef, where the theme of the restaurant is insult comedy.  Comedy Central Roasts play in the waiting room while you wait for your table and live roast battles take place on the stage while you dine.  In between battles, the waiters and bus boys come around to serve you food, refill your drinks, and insult you to your face.  On the way out you can try to throw a tomato at a heckler just like at a Renaissance Festival or get revenge on your waiter while they sit in a dunk tank hurling even more insults in your direction.

Speaking of roasts I think it would be great if Comedy Central roasted a regular person, not just an over the hill celebrity like Bruce Willis.  The knock on this idea is that comedians wouldn’t be interested in roasting someone they didn’t know, and the audience wouldn’t watch a roast when they wouldn’t know any of the inside jokes, etc.  But as Roast Battle shows you don’t necessarily need to know the person to laugh at a good insult.  Plus you could minimize some of that by introducing the roastee via a video montage at the beginning of the show.  I would even volunteer myself to be the very first roastee!

One of my biggest pet peeves is that some of the photos that I take, which look great when viewed on my phone, don’t translate into the smaller window frame on Instagram.  Case in point: a recent full length shot of a 200 foot tall tree in Olympic National Park.  When viewed on my phone’s gallery you can see the whole tree.  When trying to post to Instagram you have to crop out half the tree if you want to post the image.  This is annoying.  I wish there was a way when lining up the shot that I can see what portion of it was going to fit on Instagram.  Perhaps I could have changed the angle of my shot accordingly.  I wonder then if there is a way to create a plug-in that you could download that would overlay an Instagram optimization frame over your phone’s view finder.

Is it just me or are electric razors really loud?  I feel like I’m disturbing my neighbors every time I shave in the morning.  If I was married I would most definitely be disturbing my spouse.  Perhaps we should invent a silencer for electric razors to muffle the sound?

Speaking of neighbors I think it would be cool if there was a way to create a CB radio network for apartment buildings, like there is for truckers, so that you could communicate with your neighbors.  This way you can send out an open-ended message to anyone in the neighborhood that you are down to hang out to watch the big-game if anyone wanted to come over, or, more importantly, so that you can yell at a noisy neighbor to keep it down, without having to confront them face to face.

Considering how much we use our hands throughout the day (and how dirty they could get) doesn’t it make more sense to greet one another, not with a handshake, but by touching our shoes together?  As popular as soccer is around the world I’m surprised there aren’t more greetings that involve foot to foot contact.

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Is a roast themed restaurant the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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It’s finally happened.  I’ve finally found the Greatest.  Idea.  Ever.  A wearable device actually worth wearing.  One designed to create an impenetrable force field around you.  That’s right.  We now have a wearable capable of ensuring that you’ll never get another mosquito bite for the rest of our life.

Mosquito bites are one of nature’s worse creations.  They itch, annoy us, prevent us from getting a good night’s rest, and may even prevent us from staying outside for as long as we’d like to or going to locations that we would have wanted to go to.  Not to mention the way they carry and transmit diseases.

They’re such a nuisance that people like Bill Gates have gone to great lengths to try and genetically engineer solutions as they aim to reduce Malaria’s impact on the developing world.  But what if there was a better way to deal with our mosquito problem?  What if, instead of playing God, we could just make it so that the mosquitos can’t even get close to us?  That’s where Bandito comes in.

Digital Trends explains how this incredible wearable works, “The first line of defense that the Bandito offers is the use of sonic waves set at a frequency that repels a variety of different types of bugs. The sound is imperceptible to the human ear, and won’t bother pets either, but will quickly drive mosquitoes away. The device  also uses non-toxic scent strips to release an odor that will smell good to humans but will repel bugs. Those scents include citronella, peppermint, and lemongrass.  Each of these methods is highly effective on its own, but when combined with one another, they should greatly reduce the number of insect bites that you’ll receive while outside.”

They add that, “An individual Bandito is built for consistent use throughout a single season. It comes with an internal battery that can function for about 500 hours, while each scent strip lasts about two weeks before it must be replaced. The device ships with 12 strips, which is enough to cover three months of consistent use outdoors.  Those numbers are based on using the Bandito for up to 5.5 hours each day.”

I don’t think I can overstate just how amazing this invention is.  Just imagine how great it would be if you could sleep with the window open on a warm summer night and not have to worry about waking up covered in bug bites.  Just think about how great it would be if you could go hiking off the beaten path near a pond or lake and not have to worry about wearing long clothing.  Armed with a single Bandito I could freely sit on my balcony and read a book or write a blog post for hours on end.  Currently, I’m afraid to even open the door to my balcony on account of all the bugs I may encounter out there.

All in all, I wonder if this technology could expand to other life forms?  Could I scrap my plans to develop mobile body armor and instead just wear a Bandito on a hike to keep all the snakes, scorpions, and spiders at bay?  Furthermore, could its size and range be expanded so that the sensors could blanket entire regions, keeping entire communities free from the risk of a mosquito born disease outbreak?

Only time will tell.  But for now if you want to learn more about what Bandito can do or if you want to support the creation of the greatest wearable of all-time be sure to check out their Indiegogo page.

Is Bandito the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Here’s a quick look at everything that tickled my fancy over the last week:

Tiny Robot Olympics

DARPA is looking to host an Olympics of sorts in order to push innovation in the field of robotics.  The goal would be to design tiny bug-sized robots capable of conducting surveillance, assisting in search and rescue missions, or being used to repair hard to reach places inside of autonomous vehicles.  In other words DARPA is trying to bring the technology behind Ant-Man to life.

According to Popular Mechanics, “Researchers will design and test new ways to power the small robots, as well as try new materials that could improve the robots’ performance without compromising on size or weight. Competitions that test robots’ untethered actuator-power systems will measure how high and far a robot can jump, how much weight it can lift, how far it can throw objects, and how it fares in a tug-of-war. Another contest will evaluate complete robot designs to see their rock piling, climbing, navigation skills, or put them through a biathlon.”

Hopefully, NBC won’t be airing these Olympics on a 12 hour tape delay.  I don’t know what I would do with myself if the tug-of-war results are spoiled ahead of time on Twitter.

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Pocket Espresso Machine

Speaking of things that are tiny….there is now an espresso machine that you can put in your pocket and travel around with!

As Mental Floss puts it:

“If you’ve been putting off buying an espresso machine until you have the counter space, check out the Nanopresso from Wacaco. The gadget is smaller than most travel mugs, and it lets you brew hot, fresh coffee in even remote, electricity-free locations.

According to Bustle, Nanopresso operates through a hand-powered system. Just load water and your favorite blend of finely ground espresso in the right compartments, screw it back together, and pump the button on the side. Soon you’ll have a shot of espresso you can squeeze directly into the detachable cup.”

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No More Liquid Travel Ban?!?!

A detailed new Computed Tomography scanner could provide security personnel with such high resolution images that airports won’t need to restrict the amount of liquids that you can carry onto planes.  That means no more taking liquids out of your luggage, moving them into plastic bags, or having to discard items that don’t met the size threshold requirement.

According to The Guardian, “The regulations on carrying liquids, which require passengers to keep liquids of up to 100ml in transparent plastic bags, came into force in 2006.

The new technology, which could lead to the removal of the 100ml limit, has been tested at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and John F Kennedy airport in New York City.”

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Amazon’s Part Finder

Phones are already pretty handy but now they can literally act like a handy man.

According to Digital Trends, “Your days of going to Lowe’s or Home Depot with a random screw in your hand and a look of quiet desperation on your face will soon be behind you, and it’s all thanks to Amazon. The online retail giant’s greatest gift to us this year may not have anything at all to do with Prime Day, but rather with a new mobile app feature that lets you simply point your smartphone camera at the spare part in question so that Amazon can scan it, match it with the correct item, and then send you to buy said item online.

The app is appropriately named ‘Part Finder,’ and could be a real game changer for home improvement projects everywhere.”

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Weird New Fruits

Not only can gene editing cure diseases and create designer babies but it may one day lead to the creation of exotic new fruits as well!  Or even significant improvements upon existing fruits such as creating sweeter tasting strawberries! As if that would even be needed.

According to The Guardian, “While researchers have previously produced plants with specific traits through traditional breeding techniques, experts say new technologies such as the gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas-9 could be used to bring about changes far more rapidly and efficiently.

It could, they say, potentially open the door to a new range of fruits and vegetables that look, taste and feel very different to those we are used to.”

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Are any of these the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Luckily I’ve never been car sick.  Not unless you count that one time my friend’s dad did 80 mph around the ramps in a parking garage at Yankee Stadium.  I can’t imagine it being a pleasant experience though.  Not only would it be annoying to deal with, but it would also make you not want to drive anywhere, resulting in social isolation and boredom.  Thankfully, the people who do suffer from car sickness now have a weapon at their disposal in the fight against this problematic condition: a pair of glasses that counteract the effects of their out-of-whack equilibrium.

According to Oddity Central:

“French car maker Citroën recently unveiled a pair of glassless, liquid-filled eye-glasses that can reportedly treat the symptoms of motion sickness.

Called Seetroën, the ingenious eyeglasses use Boarding Ring technology, which was created by a French start-up of the same name, to treat motion sickness in just a few minutes. According to the official press release, after being worn for 10 to 12 minutes, “the glasses enable the mind to resynchronise with the movement perceived by the inner ear while the eyes were focused on an immobile object such as a smartphone or a book,”…[best of all] the wearer can [then] just take them off and enjoy the rest of the journey.”

In other words, these glasses won’t prevent motion sickness but they will cure it after the fact.  Welcome news for everyone who has ever been afraid to travel in a car.  Unfortunately, there’s still no cure for bad driving.

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Is Seetroën the Greatest Idea Ever?

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What if your diary or journal could write back to you?  That’s the premise behind The Sigmund, a new concept for an interactive, AI-infused smart journal, named after the greatest couch therapist of all-time, Sigmund Freud.

Here’s how it would work.  Rather than tell off your ex, complain about your co-workers to your spouse, or burden your friends with deep existential thoughts about the meaning of life, you can instead just express yourself within the pages of The Sigmund, the same way that millions of people have interacted with diaries and journals for millennia.  But here’s where things get interesting.  Instead of just writing on a static page or even in a smart journal capable of transferring your writings to the cloud, you would instead be writing inside of a journal that an AI would be actively scanning.  Able to make sense of natural language this AI would take clues from your ruminations and over time serve up advice and recommendations to ease you through your troubling times.

For instance, let’s say that you just got out of a relationship and are contemplating the current state of your love life.  The Sigmund would pick up on these subtle clues, the one’s where you talk about how lonely and depressed you are, and suggest that you attend a swing dancing class on Thursday night.  A few days later, with the topic still being written about, a different approach would be taken.  In addition to sending over a link to a speed dating event the journal would also start complimenting you on a daily basis, providing you with inspirational quotes and the like, to remind you of how great you are.

Dating aside, let’s say that you write in a journal that your New Year’s Resolution for the year is to write a book.  It’s May and you haven’t done shit yet.  You lament this fact in The Sigmund.  The next thing you know you’re getting daily reminders to get off your ass and write along with links to writing classes and emails containing tips to get pass writer’s block.  By September you have a rough draft complete.

All in all, there’s something to be said for putting pen to paper and getting your thoughts off your chest.  Abraham Lincoln used to write letters to his generals, telling them off, before stuffing them away in a draw.  No need to actually mail them having already cleared his mind and moved on.  Others don’t have that luxury though.  No matter how hard we try we can’t move on easily.  Our thoughts linger.  Weighing us down.  Acting as an anchor that hold down our relationships and friendships.  Thankfully, we now have another option.  Part pen pal, part therapist, part digital assistant, The Sigmund would allow us to get the help that we need without burdening our friends or burning any bridges.  A use of AI that makes our lives better, not just easier.

 

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Is The Sigmund the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I live right near a park which gives me picturesque views, quick access to a bike path, and relative quiet most of the time.  It’s perfect.  Except when it’s not.  The commotion from a birthday party being held in the Ramada.  The headache inducing repetitious music from an Ice Cream Truck.  The beautiful yet annoying cacophony of bird mating calls.  I love my apartment.  And yet there are times when I can’t wait to move out.  Noisy sounds and my inability to control them the likely cause of my downfall.

Thankfully, there may soon be something I can do about it.  Thanks to new noise canceling windows that can reduce noise pollution by 50%!

As Futurism puts it, “You can’t shut your neighbors up. But researchers out of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have done the next best thing: they made noise-cancelling windows that can cancel out any harsh noise coming into your home.”

So how exactly does this amazing new technology work?!?!  If you’ve used noise-cancelling headphones the answer will sound familiar to you.

“The device is essentially an array of microphones and speakers that register the sound waves of loud noises coming in and cancel them out by playing an inverted version of the same wave — the waves’ peaks matched perfectly to the valleys of the other. When the inverted waveform and the original sound interact, they cancel each other out, leaving just mellow, ambient noise. All in real-time.”

Amen to that!

Image result for noise cancelling windows nanyang technical

Is a noise cancelling window the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,273 – American Pi

As the Northeast gets hammered with a second major snowstorm I’m reminded of an idea my friend had a few years back: what if you could see a weather man’s track record? Flashing up on screen alongside the scrolling ticker of school closures and snowfall accumulations would be the fact that Bob was 8 for his last 10 forecasts.  We can’t predict the weather but we could at least know who was right most often.

This got me thinking.  What if we could see statistics for everybody not just meteorologists? What if daily life was permeated with quantitative analysis?  We live in the era of Big Data so let’s put all that data to use.  Let’s turn us all into the back of a baseball card.

What I’m imagining is an algorithm that can attach to the API of existing apps and services, and use back-end data, to publicly promote obscure information that would have previously remained hidden.  I call it American Pi, a numbers based approach to improving our daily lives.

How would this improve our lives?  Well, there’s nothing worse than texting someone, especially someone you just met, and waiting for a response.  Is this person ghosting you or just busy?  If you knew how quickly they usually respond to a text your mind would be at ease.  Same thing goes for dating.  Online apps force you to make key decisions – is this person my soul mate – based on minimal, highly selective information.  The parts that the other person wants you to see.  But what if you could see additional information?  What if you could know, for example, that Joe gets second dates 87% of the time or that he offers to pay for the bill 100% of the time.  Wouldn’t that help you make a better decision?

Same thing goes for the workplace.  There is plenty of data about my job performance.  How often I’m on time or late.  How many tasks I’ve completed and how quickly.  What score I got on my annual reviews.  What if the next time I went on a job interview the prospective employer could see my personal performance statistics.  Not just my resume or LinkedIN profile.

Now I’m not saying that we go to the extreme and rate everything we do.  I wouldn’t want to have a number associated with my overall performance as a human being.  I wouldn’t want that number to follow me around for the rest of my life.  But what I am saying is that maybe, just maybe, we could find a few ways to better incorporate statistical information into our lives.  This blog, for instance, could state that 10 out of 10 times Craig’s writing is informative, hilarious, and highly entertaining.  But then again maybe we don’t need to do that at all.  After all, some things in life are pretty obvious.

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Is American Pi the Greatest Idea Ever?

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