To Infinity and Beyond

This is one of those events that seem historic in a galactic sort-of-way


While I’m not one to blog about NASA findings, this is one of those events that seem historic in a galactic sort-of-way. We can meet back here in 80 light years (out-and-back trip) and see if I was right or not.


(VIA NASA.gov) NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

People Love Selfies, Unless They Are of Someone Else

Is this surprising? This is why they are called selfies.

According to TheNextWeb, researchers in Munich have found evidence to suggest that few people want to look at the selfies of others, but they love sharing their own. The findings of a survey of 238 people were published in Frontiers in Psychology in a January article titled “The Selfie Paradox: Nobody Seems to Like Them Yet Everyone Has Reasons to Take Them.”

77% | Take selfies at least once a month
49% | Receive a selfie at least once a week
90% | Think others’ selfies are self-promotion
46% | Think their own selfies are self-promotion

Translation | People enjoy taking selfies but don’t like looking at other peoples’ selfies. (The researchers say that other cultures than Germany may have more accepting attitudes towards selfies and that further study is required.)

Observation | Is this surprising? They are called selfies. It’s why Apple put a camera on both sides of the iPhone.

For some reason, selfies are of great interest to researchers and the publications that write about research. Bottomline. There are two types of people in the world: People who like taking photos of themselves and people who love to hear themselves complaining about people who take photos of themselves.


The image of the macaca is in the public domain because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.

A Few of the Thousand New Words That Made it Into the Dictionary

Words like photo bomb have made it into the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Merriam-Webster.com has added 1,000 new words to its online dictionary.

I was familiar with the most of the tech, web culture and political ones. Completely blank on the science ones. Didn’t know that wayback machine has a meaning other than the one found at archive.org. But buried deep in the list, I knew the meaning of ginger.

Completely blank on the science ones.

Ginger, of course.

Didn’t know that “wayback machine” has a meaning other than the one found at archive.org.

But buried deep in the list, I knew the meaning of ginger (right).

Here is a sampling of the new words (links go to Merriam-Webster.com meanings).

Technology and web culture

net neutrality
abandonware
botnet
binge-watch
photobomb
ghost
NSFW
listicles
humblebrags

Sports

airball
up-fake
five-hole

Medicine

supercentenarian
EpiPen
urgent care

Science

CRISPR
phytoremediation
microbiome
Prosopagnosia

Cooking and food

arancini
EVOO
macaron
santoku
chef’s knife
artisanal (expanded entry)

Politics

SCOTUS
FLOTUS
town hall
truther

Familiar words combined that form new words

face-palm
food insecure
geek out
ride shotgun
side-eye
throw shade
train wreck
walk back (an opinion)
weak sauce

More examples of new meanings for old word combinations

Yowza!
bokeh
elderflower
fast fashion
first world problem
ginger
microaggression
mumblecore
pareidolia
ping
safe space
wayback
wayback machine
woo-woo

The Optimization of ‘Huh?’

A picture I took recently in a Vermont general store. The boxes orchestrated my optimal interactions.

A national organization comprised of marketing executives just sent me and thousands more (I guess) an email inviting me to watch an online presentation they are hosting.

The title of the presentation starts:

“Orchestrating Optimal Interactions…”

There were lots more words in the presentation title, but I couldn’t make it past those first three.

Shouldn’t marketing executives speak English (or whatever their native tongue might be)?

I suggest they rename the presentation, “How to sell stuff.”

The Best Thing About Blogging

There are many great things about having a personal blog and consistently posting to it. And none of the great things are about trying to be a “thought leader” or personal brand. After blogging (more-or-less consistently) for 17 years, I’ve discovered that much of what I write is like jotting down a note to the future me.

RexBlog on Jan. 9, 2007

Like today. Ten years ago today, I was in San Francisco. I was on about the 20th row when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Because I blog, I can go back and read what I said that day and said a few days afterward.

In the past decade, I’ve blogged tens of thousands of words about Apple products.

But there’s something great about reading what you first thought about something that later turned out to be more (or less) significant.

It makes you feel like you were clueless…or insightful. But that you had any opinion at all makes you feel connected to an event in some way.

The headline of the post where I wrote my response is, “The least impressive thing about the iPhone is that it’s a phone.”

Ten years later, I think I nailed it.

What else happened on this day, ten years ago.

Looking at other posts of the day, I see that MyBlogLog.com was going to be purchased by Yahoo. Later, that would be as disastrous as most Yahoo acquisitions were.

AppleTV was released.

While I didn’t blog about it, ten years ago today was the first time I ever used Twitter. I had set up an account a few months earlier (in the year 2006), but MacWorld was the first time I used it. Why? The media center (I had press credentials thanks to a friend in high places), encouraged reporters to follow their posts to Twitter (“tweets” didn’t exist yet) to learn about changes in the MacWorld schedule or other updates. This was back when it was far easier to understand what Twitter was (a group text messaging thingee) than it is today. (However, for months, I continued to think it was a method for PR people to distribute text messages.)