27 February 2011
Thursday/March/03 2011 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
If we just had the right tools, everything would be great, right?
If we just had that new gadget, that state-of-the-art latest piece of technology, there would be no stopping us.
Then we could achieve our personal best. Then what we could do would be limited only by our own imagination.
But maybe it doesn't take all that to succeed...
Roger Bannister's Shoes
When it came time for Roger Bannister to Just Do It, he did something that had never been done before.
He ran a mile in less than four minutes. And he didn't do it in $300 Nikes or Pumas. He did it in the shoes pictured here.
As a 25 year old in 1954, Bannister ran a mile in 3:59:40 seconds.
Twenty years later, Bannister was the unfortunate victim of a head-on car collision. Suffering a crushed ankle, he didn't run for decades.
Then he heard about amazing new footwear that might help him run again.
Nike? Puma? Adidas?
A section of a car tire as used by some Kenyan runners to reduce impact.
Bannister, now in his eighties, is back on the road again.
Apollo 11 Computer
There is more computing power in your cellphone than what Neil and Buzz had available when they landed on the moon.
In fact, according to DownSquad.Switched.Com, the 30 year old IBM XT computer that you got rid of years ago had 8 times more memory than the Apollo 11 on-board computer.
The lunar team had 2k of memory and 32k of storage to work with. This, by the way, was an upgrade. Previous Apollo missions had only 24k of storage to work with.
These guys got to the moon with less computing power than the Garmin GPS device we use to get to the mall.
The Beatles Tape Recorder
Beatles songs that were the soundtrack of the Baby Boomer generation and those that followed.
Their first hits were recorded on a BTR (British Tape Recorder) like the one shown above.
The iconic Sergeant Pepper Album was recorded on a 4-track Studer J37, a marvel of its day.
The Garageband application that shipped free with your Mac can record up to 64 tracks.
The Boats of Lewis and Clark
The Lewis and Clark expedition was the Apollo mission of the 19th century.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led their exploration party, boldly, where few had gone before.
President Thomas Jefferson charged Lewis and Clark with finding a navigable cross-continental waterway to the Northwest.
Their journey helped changed the manifest-destiny of the United States.
It was simple, fragile boats like these that carried them on their long, treacherous and historic journey up the Missouri River.
William Shakespeare wrote some 37 plays and over 150 sonnets.
He didn't have a computer or an iPad 2 with spellcheck and cut/copy/paste.
He had a quill pen and some ink.
And by the way he did all that he did before dying at the age of 52.
Steve Job's Garage
Apple Computer is the world's most valuable technology company based on market capitalization.
It didn't start in a well-appointed walnut-paneled boardroom or in the strategic planning department of a multi-million dollar hedge fund operation.
It started here, in this garage.
The message for us all: What can we do today with what we've got?
Wednesday/March/02 2011 Filed in: Entertainment / Media
The Real Reason Why the Soviet Union Collapsed?
Stephen Colbert helped to make Eduard Khil a viral video phenomenon not long ago.
Colbert presented one of the most amazing and bizarre lip-sync performances of all time. And since his Comedy Central debut, Khil, born in Smolensk, Russia, has come to be known as Mr. Trololo Guy.
Khil didn't think the actual lyrics this song were all that interesting:
"I'm riding the prairie on my stallion, a mustang as such, and my sweetheart Mary now knits a stocking for me, a thousand miles away from here."
Probably a good call to go with the tro-lo-lo approach.
And just as US singer Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up video became fodder for the clever minds that create YouTube mashup videos, intriguing variations of Mr. Trololo Guy's spirited 1976 performance are all over the internet.
Here are our favorites...