Alien Orange Vacuum Cleaner

I love this art in Jerusalem, Israel. 


These big orange overhangs from the lamp poles look almost like big vacuum hoses that are ready and going to suck people literally off the streets. 


Can’t you just see the people in mid-air suction, arms and legs flailing all around, yelling “Hey, what’s going on around here!”?


Hopefully, they don’t end up on an alien spaceship somewhere with some weird creatures wanting to explore about us or even use us for food!


Okay, this is what I call Purim spiel–fun for the holiday celebration today.


Seriously though, those orange things are great. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Invasion of Dinosaur

So what’s with the invasion of dinosaurs. 


First one is standing next to the checkout line in Whole Foods in Maryland.


Second one is actually on someone’s terrace overlooking the beach in Fort Lauderdale.


Third one is the real McCoy from the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. 


Certainly, dinosaurs aren’t cute and cuddly–even the plush ones from Whole Foods–they’d eat you and I for dinner if they could!


So why do we gravitate to relics from the Ice Age past?


Perhaps, just like looking forward to Aliens from outer space, the dinosaurs represent an important historical link for us, and thus anchor us in a much larger perspective of time and space. 


In a way, it all points to the dichotomy between us as humans with great–almost endless–potential, and yet at the same time, how small we are relative to the enormous dinosaurs that roamed the earth of yesteryear as well as the distinct possibility of mighty extraterrestrials that we may someday (soon) encounter from outer space. 


From this context, I guess what’s really amazing is that we, as a people, are still here!


Despite our bad habits and unsustainable living, we continue to innovate our way out of own messes of greed, conflict, contagion, pollution, and resource depletion, and create a future far beyond what destroyed our predecessors or even what may come from current or potential future foes. 


Like the economy, we think we can grow ourselves out of all our troubles–and who knows, maybe we can if we can continue to stay at least one or two steps ahead of all the challenges and threats–but, at the back (or front) of our minds is what if we can’t or don’t?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The FBI Chief Goes Kerplunk

Thunk.jpeg

Who would’ve thunk it…the FBI chief goes kerplunk. 


James Comey–only 37% through his tenure as Director–is fired for the (mis)handling of the Hillary Clinton email fiasco. 


But Hillary never even saw justice.  


The politics in Washington is forever an ironic cliffhanger. 


The democrats who were supposedly aggrieved by Comey in the election are now screaming foul for his dismissal


And the republicans who supposedly benefited by Comey closing and opening of the case against Clinton are signing praises for his release.


Nothing is ever as it seems. 


Aliens could be falling from the sky and it would still be a political event. 


Washington conspiracy and counter-conspiracy theories…but the work of the people does it ever get done?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy  Blumenthal)

How You Treat Animals

Bird and Beer

This little bird is singing pretty with his Coronoa.


But this isn’t always how we treat animals. 


Some absolutely revere their animals as integral parts of their family or faith–as pets, they may be loved and cared in nice homes, and as source for milk, dung, and tilling, they may even considered sacred as in Hindu India, or for sacrifices on the holy Temple alter in Jerusalem. 


I’ve seen dogs picked up after and wheeled around in baby strollers, while in the Movies like “Meet The Fockers,” Jinx the cat is exalted for doing her deed in the toilet, the same one used by the family.


One colleague told me how she had to run after her dog cleaning up all over her house, when it was sick and had a bleed out of its butt–yeah, ick!


And I remember learning about how in Nazi Germany, dogs would walk on the sidewalk, while Jews were forced into the gutters. 


On the other side of the animal coin…


We have animals sickeningly and inhumanly confined and caged in tiny spaces; starved or fattened; pepped up on antibiotics, and clubbed, electrocuted, given lethal injections, shot and cut up.


Animals are used for food, fur, and even so-called fun from cock fighting to bull runs.


Further, animals are used for research in everything from new medications to abusive studies in mind control and even punishment.


Animals have also been used for horrific torture of POWs where masks were attached to victims faces and a fire would heat the other side and force the rodent locked inside to burrow into the faces of their victims.


Similarly, in Nazi Germany, gruesome studies were conducted on humans by sewing live cats into the stomach of victims.


In more positive ways, animals have been used to locate everything from disease to the implements of war–from dogs being used in identifying human diseases like cancer and tuberculosis to giant rats used to locate land mines


Also, animal products are used in many life-saving medications. 


I found the remorse of an animal experimenter today in the New York Times to be refreshing, and those who choose to become vegan or disavow the use of fur and other animal products to be noble, as long as they accept that others may feel different. 


When the experimenter in his guilt thinks about the tables being turned, he imagines aliens coming to Earth and abducting and conducting experiments on us humans…oh, he seems to go, now I know how it must feel. 


Guess he didn’t think to walk in that chicken’s shoes before…


While to carnivorous animals, we are just another piece of beef in the food chain, other domesticated animals can be “man’s best friend.”


Killing an animal for survival is one thing, and where people draw that line can vary quite some–for example, how badly does Kim Kardashian need another fur to keep her warm?


But pure abusive and sick treatment of animals for amusement, profiteering, or psychotic ends is wrong, period. 


Animals are not people, but they are G-d’s creatures and sentient, and they should not be harmed or pained just because some of us like to act like animals too. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Green Data Center Cooling

Green Data Center Cooling

I read with great interest this week in BBC about 2 mysterious barges off the East and West coasts of the U.S.

One barge is by San Francisco and the other by Maine.

The 4-story barges belong to Google.

There is speculation about these being, maybe, floating data centers.

I think that is more likely than showrooms for Google Glass.

These barges would potentially avail themselves of the ocean water for cooling the IT equipment.

I would imagine that there could be some backup and recovery strategy here as well associated with their terrestrial data centers.

But how you protect these floating data behemoths is another story.

A white paper by Emerson has data center energy consumption in the 25% range for cooling systems and another 12% for air movement, totaling 37%.

Other interesting new ideas for reducing energy consumption for data center cooling include submersion cooling.

For example, Green Revolution (GR) Cooling is one of the pioneers in this area.

They turn the server rack on its back and the servers are inserted vertically into a dielectric (an electrical insulator–yes, I had to look that up) cooling mineral oil.

In this video, the founder of GR identifies the potential cost-savings including eliminating chillers and raised floors as well as a overall 45% reduction in energy consumption, (although I am not clear how that jives with the 37% energy consumption of cooling to begin with).

Intuitively, one of the trickiest aspect to this would be the maintenance of the equipment, but there is a GR video that shows how to do this as well–and the instructions even states in good jest that the “gloves are optional.”

One of my favorite aspects of submersion cooling aside from the environmental aspects and cost-savings is the very cool green tint in the server racks that looks so alien and futuristic.

Turn down the lights and imagine you are on a ship traveling the universe, or maybe just on the Google ship not that far away. 😉

(Source Photo: Green Revolution)

Emergency Alert Or R U Kidding?

Emergency Alert Or R U Kidding?

BBC News Technology (9 July 2013) reports on how the U.S. Emergency Alert System (EAS) was hacked.

The EAS is a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was set up “to allow the president to talk to the entire country within 10 minutes of a disaster.” It also provides the public with alerts on local weather emergencies, such as tornados and flash floods.

EAS replaced the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1997 and with it came security weaknesses.

Earlier this year, those vulnerabilities were tested and exploited when the Montana Television Network was hacked with an alert of a zombie attack.

And it provided advice on how to survive–“Do not approach or apprehend these bodies as they are considered extremely dangerous.”

This is reminiscent of the hoax in 1938 when over the radio came a warning that a meteorite had smashed into New Jersey and aliens were attacking New York–an adaptation of H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds.”

Well yesterday it was aliens, today it’s zombies, and tomorrow it could be an phony announcement of an invasion by country XYZ or perhaps a imminent detonation of a thermonuclear warhead somewhere over the continental U.S.

Imagine the panic, confusion, and potential loss of life and property from the ensuing chaos.

It goes without saying that this is not a way to inspire confidence by the citizens in case of a true national emergency.

If we cannot count on the systems meant to survive an emergency then how can we be expected to survive the emergency itself?

The EAS may interrupt your regularly scheduled programming with those loud and annoying tests, but what can really ruin you day is a cyber attack on the system that broadcasts something much nastier and more ominous–and you don’t really know whether it’s the real thing or just another hack. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to UWW ResNet)