Saturday, January 20, 2007

Personal Aircraft On The Way

Will it be another toy for the super rich, or the coolest way to commute? The Skywalker VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) personal aircraft coming soon from the folks at Mirror Image Aerospace could be the next elite way to fly for a mere $200,000 or so. This compact, two person, helicopter style craft will fly at 95 MPH using premium grade pump gasoline, have a gross weight of less than 900 pounds, and have a range of 250 miles with a ceiling height of 8,000 feet. Among other safety features, it will sport a ballistic BRS designed emergency parachute to deploy in 4 seconds, so the aircraft can land in an upright position while the occupants stay inside the craft. No need for a runway - it will fit in a standard sized garage. It will require a pilot's license, and as a Kit-built VTOL the anticipated assembly time will be approximately 300 hours. No mention yet of optional accessories, customized kits, or color choices, but you'll be the envy of every luxury car owner in your city as you cruise over the gridlock. It will also give new meaning to the phrase Fill 'Er Up!

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Sick Day

Between dislike of corporations, resenting our jobs, and general laziness creeping into our work ethics you'd think there would be advice out there on how to miss work. Of course there is! From the category of lame advice check out this WikiHow page titled How to Call in Sick When You Just Need a Day Off. If you need this advice - your employer would likely be better off without your services - you are probably an imbecile at work - you should get a new job - or worse yet, you are a chronic, habitual liar. Does this sound harsh? Not when you consider the huge economic costs when people avoid work for frivolous reasons, and the disrespect for those at your job who have to pick up the slack. Even when somebody has a legitimate illness they should be honest with themselves about their ability to work. You shouldn't spread a contagion around the office, but is having the common cold really a good reason to phone in sick? Perhaps it depends on your occupation. On the other hand, if you are an arms/drug dealer, or your job harms others in some way, then by all means find every reason under the sun to call in sick.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Skeptical Inquiry Filter

We live in societies bombarded by information, and this data is received through multiple technology channels and media devices. The growth of this info storm is exponential, derivative, and mutative, so how can we filter out the true facts of any subject or event? All of this is compounded by biased, and sponsored media reports on diverse topics. The Question Technology Blog authored by Kevin Arthur in San Francisco puts a skeptical lens on many claims in the technological arena. His articles could appeal to Luddites, or those with an anti-technology bent as well, but they also promote critical thinking and inquiry, so the reader will be challenged to dig for the real facts themselves. Competing ideas on a technology or science presented in the media may be heavily biased by paid sponsorship, or special interest groups.

For example, in a recent post by Kevin Arthur entitled The Deception Behind "Sense About Science" he challenges the industry connections behind the so called non-profit group Sense About Science, and the legitimacy of their bashing celebrities who supposedly promote bad science or make controversial claims. A good illustration of possible truth distortion on both sides of an issue by those who may have ulterior motives, whether they be celebrities or a "non-profit" organization.

I heartily recommend a visit to the Question Technology Blog for a dose of healthy skepticism on many science and technology related subjects.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Who Needs Shaving Cream?

After making bold statements about not using shaving cream any more in the previous post, it was time to update those legions of razor shavers on this ongoing experiment. As mentioned previously in Why Use Shaving Cream? my shaves without cream were quite successful and essentially nick free. This was done with a used (?dull) blade in conjunction with keeping my face and the blade wet. I finally worked up the courage to slap a new blade into my MACH3 Turbo razor, and try a creamless shave. It was fantastic! There was no razor burn, although I did inflict a few slight, almost imperceptible nicks with the new blade. The apparent irony here is that I was inflicting far more nicks on my face when I used shaving cream. Obviously this experience might be different for other faces. However, my theory is that a wet, but creamless face offers better resistance, and makes for better razor contact on the skin. In other words you don't slide the blade quickly across a layer of cream and suddenly nick an uneven spot on the skin. I suspect that this will work with many different brands of razors even though I happened to use a broken (battery power not working) MACH3 Turbo razor that does have a lubricating strip. This is not a plug for any razor brand or model such as the MACH3, but it just happened to be the type used for my series of no cream shaves. If you want to save a few bucks, and possibly get a better razor shave, then get rid of the cream.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Why Use Shaving Cream?

You don't need shaving cream to get a close, nick free, blade shave, so why do men spend millions of dollars on it? Jeffrey Tucker describes shaving cream sales as a Racket. Is it basically a glorified soap? I have now completed a few no cream razor shaves making sure to keep my face and the blade wet with warm water. I DIDN'T SUFFER ONE RAZOR CUT DURING THOSE SHAVES and they were just as close. Now the blade I used was somewhat dull, but I was suffering recurrent cuts previously using the same blade with cream. In a piece entitled Razor Blade Blues I pondered the poor performance of hi-tech razor blades, but now I question the cream more than the blades! One absolute in blade shaving is to decrease the tensile strength of hair by keeping it wet, but what role does cream lubrication play? Supposedly the cream "softens and prepares" the skin (easier to nick?), prevents razor burn (wet face and razor should stop that), and skin irritation. I suspect it may actually cause skin irritation especially after the skin is nicked, and some may be allergic to it. I may experiment with a few different brands and types of razor blades, and the jury is out on using brand new blades with water only, otherwise shaving cream is history for me.

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