Category Archives: Geek Stuff

Critical “Race” Theory

It is Memorial Day Again.

Last Memorial Day I was on a boat in Charleston Harbor headed to Fort Sumter for a much-too-short visit. But today I saw a TV blurb about the delayed Indy 500, something I have not thought about for many years.

That took me back 65 years to 1959. Memorial Day was “Decoration Day”1 back then, and always on May 30, a Saturday, that year. I was mowing the grass with a gasoline lawnmower that you had to push. I was running with the mower so I could finish before the start of the Indianapolis 500 on the radio.2 Sid Collins, the “voice of the Indianapolis 500” until1977 would say, “and now, to start the greatest spectacle in racing, here is the President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Tony Hulman.” Then you would hear Hulman say loudly, slowly and emphatically, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.”3 And even on the radio, the cacophony was overwhelming. I don’t remember much about the race, and only by looking on Wikipedia do I know that Roger Ward won in a Watson-Offenhauser, and Jim Rathman was second, also in a Watson-Offenhauser. But I listened to the entire race.

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Disruptive Civil War Technology

If you manage any type of business, you likely have heard the term, “disruptive technology.” The term was first defined by Clayton Christensen in a 1995 Harvard Business Review article1 as having the following qualities.

  • A disruptive technology supersedes an older process, product, or habit.
  • It usually has superior attributes that are immediately obvious, at least to early adopters.
  • Upstarts rather than established companies are the usual source of disruptive technologies.
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Geekemeritus 2023 Review

Note: This report was prepared in January, 2024, but due to a “senior moment” (actually more than one), I thought I had posted it, but alas, had not. I only now discovered that.
So a little late, but here it is.

Well, it is the end of another year, one in which several long-time friends and family have died, and life has changed greatly for others. The reality of life’s brevity is finally coming to rest on me. Although I am not a fan of reliving the past, I think it is important to look at my year and revisit some of the events and savor those that were special in some way.

I covered a lot of ground in 2023 — About 10,000 miles, mostly on America’s byways. Only in the early 2000’s when I was flying between the US and UK have I traveled more. In the past 12 months, I…

  • Lived in the Airstream for 7 months
  • Spent time in 18 states and 4 Canadian provinces
  • Visited 11 Civil War battlefields
  • Camped in a World Heritage Site
  • Followed and explored the old Santa Fe Trail
  • Walked on the ocean floor
  • Climbed the Kill Devil hills
  • Camped on several American Indian reservations
  • Explored the original Manhattan Project site
  • Met many interesting people

Of all the places I visited, here is a severely limited list of stand outs.

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Some Memorial Day Thoughts

Spending Memorial Day at Fort Sumter where the Civil War began reminded me that the first celebrations of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day occurred shortly after at the end of the War, and one of the most remarkable was here in Charleston.

Late in the war Union prisoners were held on the infield of the race track at the Charleston Jockey Club. Over 200 died during the time and were buried in a mass grave behind the grandstands.

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IPFS, WEB 3 & Decentralization – Part 2

NFT’s, Blockchain & Copyright


Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFT’s are unique digital asset that is verified and stored on a blockchain network. While cryptocurrencies are interchangeable and can be divided into smaller units, NFTs are one-of-a-kind and cannot be divided, thus non-fungible. They can represent ownership of a specific asset, such as digital art, music, or other collectibles. More on this later.

I think NFT’s are pretty dumb. The majority are forms of useless artwork, some no bigger than the icons on a windows desktop that sell for hundreds of $’s. The “Pudgy Penguin #4066” shown to the right is priced at $8000. I don’t know anyone who would pay that for a digital cartoon, but obviously there must be many who will. Nor do I know what one would do with it since, unlike “Starry Night” and all “real” art that can hang on a wall, it exists as only bits. (My kids would point out that I am not the right demographic.)

`But then I considered that there may be other uses for NFT’s as an alternative, or adjunct to copyright, so I decided to give it a bit more study. Indeed, many NFT’s can be designed to transfer copyrights, but it turns out “ownership” it is not so simple. Here’s why.`

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IPFS, WEB 3 & Decentralization – Part 1

Evolution of the WEB(s)

This is the first of a series of posts on the evolution of internet services along with some comments on where things might go in the next few years. 
My primary goal is to combine things from my experience with new understanding, and if all goes well, a bit of insight.
As I always do, I will try to avoid detailed explanations and present enough for the reader to gain a basic understanding, and then pursue a deeper knowledge on their own.

The Web is not the Internet. In the beginning there was only the ARPAnet, a collaboration network of universities and some government departments running packet-switching protocols. There were no passwords. You could open a telenet session on a time-sharing computer, and work your way to all manner of interesting places by opening telenet on the next computer in the chain, and so on. In the mid 80’s I was able to connect to the catalog of a library in the USSR. It did not do me much good, but I could do it!

Between 1989 and 1991, Tim Berners-Lee created the HTML protocol, the first website at CERN, and a web client, “WorldWideWeb” (all one word, later named Nexus), built in Objective-C on a Next computer. You can browse it here.

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IPFS, WEB 3 & Decentralization – Part 3

The Blockchain, Smart Contracts & DeFi


In the previous post on Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) I took a skeptical view of their value in the real world. This was based on the observation that the most common use of NFT’s is for digital artwork and other intellectual property, and the fact that people were paying a lot of money for “the pride of ownership.”

However there are other uses for blockchain technology that have real potential value. Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is a primary goal of blockchain technology – the ability to transfer funds and ownership without the participation of banks, credit card companies, or similar institutions. Here are a few.

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Precision Ag at Desert Claim Farms

2002-07-24

I left Portland on the 17th, and after a couple of stops found myself on US Highway 2 crossing the continental divide at Marais Pass south of Glacier National Park. US-2 parallels the Canadian border from Seattle to the Michigan UP. I would follow it as far as Duluth. Local residents call it the High Line.

This is the golden triangle of the Montana High Desert and is mostly flat and filled with thousands of square miles of wheat, barley, hay and other crops that can grow without irrigation.

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