Monthly Archives: December 2019

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The designer of the barcode (i.e. Universal Product Code (UPC)) Designer George Laurer has died

It’s iconic and feels like it’s been around forever, but the UPC is a fairly new invention. The inventor, George Laurer, worked for IBM and invented it in the 1970s. There’s a good write up on him and his invention, here: Universal Product Code Designer George Laurer Dies At 94 : NPR.

While IBM has been associated with many IT innovations, this one particular one likely touches more people’s lives than any other.

For more on how to read UPCs, and to appreciate just how much information is packed into one, go here.

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My favourite Friday Night Christmas Music links….

…are here!

Years ago (2011, 2012) I used to post music links every Friday night (as well as other days and nights). On December, I would focus on Christmas music. These are some of my favourites.

Enjoy! And joy to the world….

Do you need last minute gift ideas?

Then you need this article in the New York Times:

www.nytimes.com/2019/12/18/smarter-living/last-minute-gift-ideas.html

It has a wide range of gift ideas but more importantly, it will help you better think about what to get someone.

Don’t panic, you still have time!

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Is warning people about how much exercise it takes to work off a meal a good idea?

According to this, it is: ‘Four hours to walk off pizza calories’ warning works, experts say – BBC News. For example, if you were to buy a pizza or a chocolate bar, they argue that…

Appreciating it would take four hours to walk off the calories in a pizza or 22 minutes to run off a chocolate bar creates an awareness of the energy cost of food, they say.

That’s true. But it’s also not a great comparison. It’s pretty much a given that exercise is not a great way of losing weight, so most foods will come across as requiring a lot of exercise to work off the food. And it may be a lot more exercise than most people do. This will just end up shaming more people than it benefits.

I think a better approach would be to highlight what percentage of your recommended caloric allowance a selection of food is. I believe this would be much better. Foods have something similar already: they tell you what percentage of vitamins, fibre, etc. a selection of food provides for your diet. They could do the same thing with calories. Hey, on some days when you hadn’t had much to eat, something that provides you 50% of your daily calories may be fine.

No matter what, providing health guidance is never simple. But if I had to decide, I’d go with percentages.

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In Detroit, Tiny Homes are in vogue (and for good reason)


This is a fascinating article on the use of tiny homes to help those without a place to call their own: In Detroit, Tiny Homes Are More Than a Lifestyle Trend – POLITICO Magazine

I think for many cities, apartment buildings are the way to go. More importantly, I think cities need to wake up to the problem of unaffordable housing and strive to make living in the city achievable and satisying for those that live there. If that means high rises in one city and tiny homes in another, then what works best is what should be aimed for. Here’s to livable and affordable places to live.

(Image from the article. It’s a nice place. Very IKEA, but that’s ok.)

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How to buy happiness

I know, everyone says you can’t buy happiness. I think this piece does a good job of showing how money can enable you to find happiness. Now you don’t need money for this, but money helps.

What does the article say you should do?

  1. Buy experiences
  2. Make it a treat
  3. Buy time
  4. Pay now, consume later
  5. Invest in others
  6. Make it a treat

If you read the piece, you’ll get a taste of what they are getting at: Shopping for Happiness – Put A Number On It!

Of course, you can have lots happy moments without spending any money, and lots more spending a fraction of what some people spend. Perhaps the real goal is to find as many ways as you can to be happy, and aim for those with the least amount of spending.

Regardless of what you do, aim to be happy and pursue it.

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Great gift ideas I can vouch for (under $200) from Bay Bloor Radio


I can’t vouch for everything on this list, but over the years I’ve acquired a three of the items on it and they are all good:

  1. Grado headphones
  2. Tivoli radios
  3. Sonos One speakers

Some are even on sale!

For more details, go here: Gift Ideas Under $200 | Bay Bloor Radio Toronto | Bay Bloor Radio Toronto Canada