Archive for the “General” Category

Our son Sam has had an interesting fascination with the Titanic lately.  We’ve let him watch the 1997 movie “Titanic” and the early 1958 “A Night to Remember.”  We’ve checked out additional documentary DVDs from the library along with books.  He’s taken one of his giant Lego planes and converted it to be Titanic, complete with funnels and a break-away hull which allows him to sink it (from the couch to the floor) in dramatic near-real play action into two pieces.  It’s pretty cool actually.  I even helped him find the underwater 3D representation on the sea floor in Google Earth.

All this has re-kindled my own childhood interest in the story and the wreck.  I recall being intrigued by the idea of this unsinkable ship having sunk in 1912 and the fact it hadn’t been found.  I, like many others thought how cool it would be if someone did find it and was able to raise it.  I read Clive Cussler’s book “Raise the Titanic” and watched the movie of the same name.  These of course only kindled a belief the Titanic might one day be found and actually brought back to the surface.  Many people thought the same thing.  But tonight I got to thinking what a folly that was.

I’m sure before the Titanic was discovered by Bob Ballard, many people truly believed we’d find her and be able to affect a patch on her hull that would allow us to bring her up.  I’m certain there were grand visions of turning her into a museum, monument or sailing her again just to take the “unsinkable” meme and shake it in the face of God.

But God had other plans.

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A recent question posed in our local Toastmasters club was this:

“Would you break the law in order to save someone’s life?”

My initial reaction was “of course.”  It wasn’t the question given to me, but I sat there considering  it as if it had been.  The next thing that jumped into my head was the thought that the value of human life is above the law.  However, to what extent does that hold true and to what degree do people hold that as a personal moral?

Recently a man was put to death in the United States as part of a death penalty conviction for the rape and murder of a woman who was pregnant.  That man’s life was taken within the (questionably) acceptable  norms of the law.  Was that human life beneath the law any more than the woman and unborn child he murdered were above it?  Many would argue it was, many would argue it wasn’t; that’s the crux of the entire death penalty debate.

Do we then fall into the question of if it’s a life worth saving?  Ignoring the path of a Death Penalty for the moment, should we analyze a situation quickly and determine if it’s worth breaking a law to save a life or letting the person die?  Excluding the penal system and it’s death penalty for the sake of this argument, would you break the law to save a life?

Must we think about the law that might be broken?  Does it matter?  What is more important, saving a life or making sure we as an individual don’t incur the wrath of the legal system?

A man defies police orders and rushes back into a burning building trying to save the life of a son or daughter.  Did that father break any laws?  It might be argued they violated a direct police order, failed to follow police directions but was it really breaking any law?

Another man disregards a no trespassing sign to help an injured ATV rider.  Or how about this one; a man with a valid concealed carry permit, who is carrying his firearm, reacts to a school shooting next to his house, enters the school grounds and subdues the murderer long before the police can arrive.  This man will surely go to jail; he broke the law by entering a posted gun free and no shooting zone and discharged a firearm on the premises.  Did he save lives?  Did he do the right thing?  Would he go to jail?  Should he?

The reactionary who took out the murderer may have saved countless other lives, both school children and faculty.  Was his action of breaking the law justified in an attempt to save others?  Or should he have stayed in his house, cowering in his own home as he continued to hear shot, after shot, after shot, believing murder was taking place, waiting the long minutes it takes for the police to arrive.  Would that person feel pain and anguish for the rest of their lives wondering if they could have made a difference?  Wondering if their actions could have saved lives even at the risk of their own?

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It’s 2013 and instant communications has reached new levels with the likes of facebook, twitter, high speed Internet connectivity, cellular data networks, Skype and more. The “tech” industry appears to be moving at breakneck speeds to find even more innovative ways to bring us “the world,” “our world,” in less cumbersome if not more intrusive ways. Eyeglasses that allow you to read email or automatically pull up information on people in view using face-recognition technology. What is the next step? Is it embedded tech in the brain? Are people at some point destined to be connected to their small communal collective if not the entire world collective by means of an always-on invisible tether to the information cloud?


Have people become so interdependent on others for their own survival, or satisfaction? Have we shunned privacy to such a point in society that it’s looked upon as shameful to -not- be engaged with others seemingly full-time? Must we be constantly bombarded by social interaction that we barely have a private moment? Where then is the limit of privacy?

Through facebook one can see and read the latest news about their friends whether it’s important or not, whether you’re interested or not. Conversations have degraded into small sound bites; easy enough to digest but remaining hollow of nutritious content. Friends seem compelled to respond as if they are in the same place at the same time; vicariously living through others. They want to know what’s happening, so much so that it becomes an addiction at some point, but does it matter?
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I had a random thought, and I wrote it down. Was it as accurate as the first thought that ran through my brain? Who knows? But it was directly related to the thought.

The mind working faster than I can write. 100 years ago we must have been thinking slower. Maybe even just 50 years ago. Today I can’t even type as fast as I can think the words (and I can type pretty fast). The trouble is, if no one takes the time to write the words down, they may be lost.

Well that was the thought; doesn’t necessarily make much sense. In today’s society with the availability of the Internet, more people as a percentage of population than ever before are now able to write things down and have other people read them. Beyond that we had a short period of pod-casting, then video-casting seems to have become the norm. Still, what happens when the Internet goes away? What happens to all that stored data? It’s not in books.

I can pick up a book written hundreds of years ago, thousands for that matter. But what about today? Will someone in a hundred years look back to this time and wonder what it was like? Will they be able to scour a data resource like the Internet today and find the random thoughts of people like me?

Probably not.

Asa Jay

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This is a delayed post. I originally wrote this on a plane earlier this month. I’m just now getting around to editing and posting it

I’ve owned a Blackberry Storm 2 for about two years. It’s my work cell phone, or at least it was until I recently traded for a Motorola Droid 3. I’ve had the Droid now for a couple of weeks and I’m not sure I like it much better than the Blackberry. There are some specific reasons related to my job that I wanted to update to a Droid, but some of the inconveniences, not having the same features as my Blackberry did, are driving me a little crazy.

The first thing I tried to do on my new Droid was to customize the vibration sequences used for my various notifications. Blackberry allowed me to choose three different vibrations: short, medium and long, and three different patterns: single, two and three vibes. This worked out really well as I could use a single short vibration to indicate a new email had come, while I used two short vibrations to indicate an instant message of some sort. This helped me prioritize what I needed to respond to without having to look at the phone. With the Droid, I didn’t have any of those choices.

The Droid had one vibration, that was it. So I had to go out and find if there was an application to fix that for me. After searching for some time I came across Light Flow Lite. It had quite a few more features than the standard Droid set that came with the operating system. But it was still limited and in the end, I couldn’t really set up the specific signaling I had wanted. Even after setting things up using this app, some of the settings reset randomly and it was bothersome. I think it’s stable now so I can move on. My next problem was “holster” mode.
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Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton