Daily Archives: September 25, 2008

McDonald’s Hamburgers: they keep going and going ….

Take a look at these two burgers:

One of them was made in 2008 and the other was made in….1996. Yes, 12 years ago.

Can you tell which one is which? I couldn’t either. But if you go here, 12-Year Old McDonald’s Hamburger, Still Looking Good | A Hamburger Today, you can find out the details.

Amazing. To say the least!

(Found via kottke.org)

Using RSS as alerts

Some smart organizations, like the Toronto Transit Commission, are using TTC RSS Feeds as ways of notifying clients quickly if there is a disruption of service or there is some other information you want to get to people.

These alerts don’t have to be a news of a problem: it could be good news. Either way, it is a good way to let people know quickly about something.

The Brilliance of Francis Bacon

The nytimes.com has a fine slide show highlighting some of the Francis Bacon show at the Tate Britain.

I can understand how people can get put off by the misery and horror portrayed in Bacon’s work. However, infusing all that is something that I love about him and it is worth hanging in there and looking for. It’s the same thing I love about Mark Rothko, and that’s the ability of the artist to use colour. While it helps to be able to see more of the artist’s work, just flipping through this slide show gives you a glimpse into the vividness of his palette and the remarkable colour composition of his work.

In many of Bacon’s paintings, a single incandescent light bulb appears. It is a light that he captures very well in his paintings. There is both the flatness and brightness of incandescent light that would otherwise be boring were it not in these paintings.

You can see the slideshow here and as always (it seems) there is an accompanying article.

On appreciation and the importance of showing it

I believe that we underestimate the positive affect our kindness and appreciation has on people. We believe it won’t make a difference, that the effort to do so will be unappreciated, or that it doesn’t matter.

Last week I used the City of Toronto’s web site to enroll my children on some skiing and swimming programs that the City provides. What I used to have to do — really — was get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. and walk over to the community center and line up until 7 a.m. with many other people. I had to do this twice a year: September and January. Standing outside in Toronto in January at 5:30 or 6 in the morning to try and get your daughter in karate is the definition of ‘no fun’. However, the people from the city who ran it were very good, getting there at 6, giving out placeholder numbers to people, and letting them in before 7 just so people could stay warm. At 7, people would take turns working with staff to use the IT system the city has for registering. For high demand choices, you had to get to the system by 7:20, because they filled up immediately (once I tried to register my daughter in karate this way: it was filled by 7:10).

There were two other choices: a phone system (overloaded and not easy for me to use I found) and a web based system. The web based system was HAMMERED at 7 a.m. The first time I tried it a few years ago, it took me over an hour to get in. Needless to say, I went back to the 5 a.m. line up.

However, over the years of trying it, I have seen the web based system improve greatly, and I got in quickly this year (7:05), even though I am sure it still gets massive amount of load at exactly 7 a.m.

I was so impressed, I sent an email to the Mayor’s office (the office of the Mayor of Toronto is fantastic with answering email, usually answering within the hour and with specific responses to my email). I told them how impressed I was with the improvements they have made over time. (And after having stood in the freezing cold at 5 a.m., you appreciate it!). Not only were they appreciative, but they forwarded the email to others within the city, and they were all very appreciative as well. In fact, I was surprised how appreciative they were in the emails they sent back to me.

And so I thought I would write this, partially as a reminder to myself to be more appreciative (it’s a never ending journey and I am sure I have along way to go still). Partially to remind others. And partially to tell people — particularly the IT people I work with — that people do appreciate the work you do to make things better, even if they don’t always say so.

How this financial crisis is already setting Americans up for the next one

According to this posting, Why Pensions May be More Vulnerable – Swampland – TIME, there is a potential that out of all this work being done to fix the current financial meltdown, in the future it might be

.. easier for pension funds to invest larger stakes in riskier hedge funds and financial institutions, relaxing the fiduciary duties that usually come with investing in people’s retirement. This was a controversial provision that even the White House and Senate Republicans were leery of – Dems mostly opposed it – but House Republicans were adamant in seeing it included in the bill. In fact the original language of these provisions – introduced as an amendment in committee by Representatives John “Randy” Kuhl a New York Republican and Rob Andrews, a New Jersey Democrat** – called for even greater changes to the system: allowing pension funds to hold up to 50% stakes in hedge funds and financial institutions*. Just a thought, but when Congress gets down to reasserting more regulation on the markets, this might be something they want to look at.

So in a few years from now, when there is another meltdown, instead of (or in addition to) wiping out people’s mortgages, it will wipe out their pension funds as well.

People in the U.S. should be very very worried.

Art a geek could love

While Hayley A. Silverman has very smart works of art on display, this particular one is my favourite:

A very nice illustration of “the stack”. (Yes, there are protocol, OSs, etc. missing, but hey, it’s a work of art, not Wikipedia).

From the ridiculous to the sublime, musically, and places in between

Checking out music on the Transbuddha web site the other night, I came across this!

Yes, not only is Jesus your friend, apparently he is also a Mountie. Okie-dokie, then. That’s the ridiculous. (And likely a comedy sketch, but still….)

As I was listening to it, I thought, hmmm…that sounds like Ranking Full Stop from the English Beat. Of course it’s also on YouTube.

While there are some differences, it is very similar! So, first song, very bad. But it got me listening to something better. And checking out that, I started thinking of their good cover of the classic Smokey Robinson and the Miracles song, Tears of a Clown. So I looked it up, and I came across this:

So, from the ridiculous to the sublime in a few minutes.

As a aside, I thought: man, the Miracles were a pretty subdued group of dancers. I did a check on the Pips, the Temptations and even the Jackson 5, and while all those groups were looser than Smokey’s backups, they were still more focused on singing and not so much on (lipsynching and) dancing.

I also think Justin Timberlake stole this look for his “Lovestoned/I think she knows” video. You can see it here: