So today is a big day in the USA. It is not an holiday or anything like that. But is is still big.
Today, the PowerBall Lotto is expected to top $1.5Billion dollar jackpot. That is a lot of $. So like many others, I wade into the crazy frenzy and bought some tickets. But I decided to up it a bit.
Since I let a machine, or rather a computer algorithm pick my numbers when I got the tickets. Why not just come home and implemented some quick code that would pick number too.
From the PowerBall lotto site, on how to play. They said that they pick 5 numbers from a drum of 69 balls. And each ball is numbered. So that must be 1 to 69, since I don’t think they would include 0. Then there is a last 6th number that is from a drum of 26 balls.
Here is screenshot of my code and a run to pick 5 sets of numbers:
And here is the rather “complex” code in the Groovy programming language:
// pick some number for PowerBall Lotto
// a line is 6 number, 5 numbers between 1-69 and the 6th between 1 and 26
numbers = new int
Random rand = new Random();
News broke last week of an high schooler being thrown out of our seat in class by a law enforcement officer. Let’s get some of the facts out of the way. Her is a link to the story on NPR with an embedded YouTube video.
The high school girl is black. The officer in question is a white sheriff. Now let’s look at the few other facts. The girl was being disruptive and rude. She was on her cell phone and was asked repeatedly by several school officials before the sheriff showed up.
There are a number of heated discussion about this issue. Some say that had this been a white teenager, she would never have been tossed from her chair. That might be true, I might even go so far as to say, that is probably 80% likely to had a different outcome had it been a white student.
However, that is not all to be consider.
Let start at why this event even occurred. Had that student listened and not be disrupted to being with, this wouldn’t have been an issue. Sure, we all make mistakes, but we have to accept when we push that boundary too far. She might have had some legitimate reason for being upset and being on our phone. But we don’t get to be rude and disrupted because we have some personal problem. We have to also consider others around us. That student was being unfair to the other students and not only was she selfish, since she wasn’t even considering what is good for her.
I make no excuse for how she was handled. The sheriff should have not allowed his emotion, be it anger or irritation or anything else, to get in the way of treating someone with respect.
If I could, I would put that kid on some kind of punishment. Something severe, but not expulsion, to make a point that disrupted behavior will not be tolerated. She shouldn’t be expelled because that becomes someone else’s problem. We can’t shuffle kids around.
I was watching some top ten list video on YouTube recently. I don’t remember exactly what the name of the video is, but it was about planets we have discovered. They mentioned on planet that had an Earth Index of 0.88. Earth Index is a way of categorizing a planet’s likeness to Earth. So a planet that is exactly like Earth would have an Earth Index of 1.0.
The other interesting tidbit from the video was that we had sent a message in the direction of that planet. This is not the first time I have heard that we have sent message out into space or place them on spacecrafts like Voyager I and II. You can learn more about Voyager I and II here.
That was pretty cool in itself that we have found a planet that is out there, very far to be sure, but still with such likeness to Earth. But how to you send a message you know an intelligent alien life form would understand? So this question was at the back of my mind and you can see the messages we have included on Voyager I and II at the site above.
A few days later, after watching this video, I was at a customer site and saw that engineers at one company was playing the game ‘Hang Man’ with engineers at another company. There were two building separated by a parking lot, and each building were for different companies. Up on the third or forth floor, the engineer were playing this game on the glass of the buildings side facing each other. We can reasonable assume that those engineers have never met, didn’t just meet somewhere and planned playing this game, but yet they were.
So it is obvious, without knowing the specifics in this case, that communication or some for of it, can be established between intelligent beings. I was discussing this idea with a friend on how you can establish this communication. Assuming that instead of a parking lot separating the two buildings, the distance as much longer, like a mile apart. Engineers in each building, would have a mirror to reflect the Sun or a light they can use to shine to each other. Could the two group still communicate and establish some language that allows for the exchange of complex concepts. I think it is possible.
My buddy later sent this video that I found really exciting, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDrBIKOR01c.
I was listening to a gut wrenching story on ‘This American Life’ on school integration/segregation in 21st century. The episode was called ‘The Problem We All Live With’.
It was painful to listen to. May be it was painful for for me because I am black. But I would hope that had I not been black, it would have been equally painful or even more painful at the thought of my inherent privileges.
Then they played this song I never heard before. The song resonated so much, may be because of the story I just heard. The song is called ‘It is Because I ‘m Black’ by Syl Johnson.
I showed Ian the first Avenger movie from 2012, and he was so into it. Before showing him, I was hoping he would like it so we can go see the new one as a family. Victory, he was into it when we watched it on Friday night at home. I was so excited to go see “Avenger: Age of Altron” today.
Stacy, Ian, and I decided to go. Desiree as usual, opted to stay at home. I enjoyed the movie. But unfortunately, by mid-movie, Ian lost interest and got restless. Stacy offered to take him outside for a bit. I didn’t see them come back to our seats. But I figured they just decided to sit closer upfront instead of coming up to the back where I was.
It wasn’t until I got out of the theater and saw them in the hall. That I realized they didn’t come back in. The movie was fairly entertaining, so I don’t mind watching it again with Stacy when it hit video.
Recently, I have noticed a bird sining in the trees near my apartment. I haven’t successful yet in seeing what the culprit looks like, but the melody is very sweet. It is a seductive singing, that even my wife noticed it. The singer, loves to sign in the morning, about 6am and in the evening, about 6/7pm.
This bird, I don’t know what kind or what it looks like, have been singing for about two week or more. I don’t remember when I noticed it, but did notice it some time. May be it might have been even months. Anyway, I decided a few days ago that I would take it. I heard the singing several time, but there was too much ambient noise. Fortunately, this morning I had my chance.
I am very fascinated by this songbird. The bird brings back memories of my childhood and my experience with a songbird. Before I get into the story of the songbird of my childhood, let’s me offer you the opportunity to hear the songbird in the trees outside.
Isn’t that beautiful? Doesn’t that make you want to put it on loop and play it a few more times? Well, I hope it does. I love it.
I had a cage bird when I was in my mid to late teens. It was when I lived in Guyana, South America. If I had to do some calculations, it would be between the ages of fifteen to sixteen. I left Guyana just before my seventeen birth, about three weeks before.
The care of the bird, was left in the hands of a cousin. There was no expectation that I would return for the bird. Even if I had returned in a few years, changes it wouldn’t had lived that log anyway. I can’t say exactly, how the bird came to his demise. But that it did.
Now, the bird I had, was called a Mustache. That is the colloquial name. Like the bird I tapped in Foster City California, my bird and many birds usually sing in the mornings and the evenings. You would hear them signing during the day too, but not as much as morning and evening.
There uses to be bird sining competitions. More on that later.
Besides the singing, this bird was well known for molting. That is when it would shed it feathers and get new ones. If you got one when it was brown. Over time, it would mold repeatedly, and eventually be black and white. In between, it would had some degree of brown, black, and white. Fortunately, it was able to take my bird though the process of brown to black & while. Here are two YouTube videos of Mustache in brown and another in black & white. NOTE: The audio isn’t very good. There is a lot of background noises, a cricket match, other birds singing, including a Kisk-a-dee, and other noises.
Mustache wasn’t the only bird that molted. At the time I had my bird, my best friend from even back then, had a Fire-Red. Fire-red would start out all brown too. Then they would molt to brown back, and burned-brown, but not quite red, under feathers.
While a bird is molting, you would cover the cage, keeping it in darkness. Now I don’t know why that was the practice. May be they would be cold with basically no feathers. I don’t know if birds go hid in some dark or warm place while they molt in the while. But that was the practice. You would see boys and men with their bird cages, covered in a dark sleeve.
Here is a picture of a Fire-Red close up here.
As as young man, your first bird, if you were interested, would most likely be a Fire-Red or Mustache. Those were fairly plentiful and easy to catch. If you were an adult, the bird you had was a Towa Towa. Towa Towa were known to be great singers. This made them expensive and highly sought after. They were not necessarily rare, you just had to travel further to get them. And since just about anyone wanted one, as a young person, you won’t have one. It would most likely be stolen, or taken away by the older boys. So, you spend your life with the more popular songbirds.
You here that Towa Towa show off. 🙂 That is some good singing.
Even though Mustache and Fire-Red are good singers, and some more than others. They have nothing on the Towa Towa. If you wanted to win a bird singing competition, you would go with a Towa Towa, not a Fire-Red or Mustache. People have tried to and some have succeeded in smuggling Towa Towa into the United States of America.
Close of a Towa Tota:
Yup, I heard the song bird singing.
PS: What we call a Towa Towa in Guyana, is a Bull Finch or Boy Boy in Trinidad. Here is video of a Trinidadian Bull Finich. Same thing as the Towa Towa. The nice thing about the following video, is that there isn’t any distracting background noises.
The growing rift between Puritans and Entenders didn’t stop on the street. It was in the media. Which each side having their set of supports. New outlets didn’t pretend to be unbiased any more, but planted their feet squarely on one side or the other. Some might argue it was the baiting of media and their talking head hosts and guests that whipped up the population.
It was the media that coined the terms each used today, Cyborgs or Anderthals.
Mark picked his way along a side street. He hated coming down to the city these days. It seems like every time he came, there were more new shops for Cyborgs. He mostly walked with his head down. Not wanted to see the stores or the people with who showed off their flavor of augmentation.
As he approached the corner, he heard the distinctive buzz and whirr of mechanical legs from the cross street. His anxiety raised with each step. He slowed his paced, like was he expected someone to jump out at him. As if around that corner lied in wait an hungry lion. He stopped just before the corner, and listened, as the buzz and whirr got louder.
Mark waited tensely. Soon a woman turned the corner and walked passed him. She greeted hime warmly. But he didn’t make eye contact and grumbled “freak”. In return she calmly said “idiot”. She must have been used to these kinds of insults.
His thoughts returned to how much he hated this place now. What it was becoming. How the Puritans were being pushed out, they were losing more and more of what they loved. This was is home. He lived with his mom in a small two-bedroom house on the edge of town. He used to love coming down here to meet here.
After a very very long hiatus, I am back. I will, again, try to post more often. To do that, the post will be much shorter and kind of random.
My motivation to getting back to the blog is quite simply. If I want to get better at writing, I have to write more. It is really that simple.
I have been thinking a lot for a long time, may be a good decade or more, about writing a book. Yes, a book. Even if it is a short story. But I never get around to doing so. Instead, I have all my ideas in my head. Sometimes, I would would jot things down or start to write something, but nothing fleshed out.
But how will this blog fix that?
Well, simple. If I start writing more, even a little bit. Eventually, that I can start writing about my ideas as I get them. And I will have a place to job down a bit here and there, even it I don’t have time to sit down to writing say an entire chapter. From these pages, I can pluck my short story. Since I won’t have to worry about finding the time to write it all coherently or even sequentially. I can choose to write any part of any story and even change it completely.
So that is that plan. Write often, write about anything, and even if it is short.