Monday, September 17, 2007

Cell phone obscene calls

Has anyone reading this been the recipient of obscene or harassing phone calls on their cell phone? How did you handle it?

Someone with a blocked CallerID has been calling my cell phone in the wee hours and -- ignoring my Barry White baritone when I say hello -- asking me if I'm wearing panties. I know, I know. It's the 1AM part that I find most annoying, and last night I decided to call T-Mobile about it.

I asked how I could activate Anonymous Call Rejection, or Anonymous Call Blocking, on my cell phone. They said there was no such thing. I said there is such a thing on my landline. They said there is no such thing in the cell world. Why not? It just isn't. (Ansd they're not lying -- the FCC doesn't require cellular providers to provide ACR.) They admitted that it was one of their most requested features. So why don't they implement it? They just don't. They recommended I change my number (for a $15 fee).

The bottom line is that T-Mobile operates in some sort of looking glass world where the rules of customer service are inverted: repeated customer wishes -- wishes that can add to a customer's safety and security -- are ignored if they cause a customer to spend less of the currency of the realm, cell phone minutes.

Anyway, being a reporter and all I decided to make an article about this, and to do so I need real-world examples. Have you gotten obscene calls on your cell phone, and how did you handle it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king...

The new cool kids' meme is to go to (login nycareers/password landmark) to take their career aptitude test. You enter your likes and dislikes, they give you a list of jobs you'd be good for. Here is my list:

Computer Programmer, Technical Writer, Criminologist, Business Systems Analyst, Writer, Critic, Comedian, Musician, Database Developer, Web Developer, Print Journalist, Composer, Special Effects Technician, Political Aide, Computer Engineer, Actor, Magician, Computer Trainer

With the exception of criminologist, I have been employed or earned money in every single one of these fields.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

left brain, right brain,1,5376455.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

Scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information. Liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.
I know, like this is news?
Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. The latest study found those traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions.
Again, nothing we didn't know, but it's always nice to have more evidence.
Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives.
Sound like anyone we know???
liberals were 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy. Based on the results, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.
That sounds about right.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

In the Shadow of the Moon

The Underwire - Wired Blogs


Last night I met and spoke with Apollo 12 Lunar Module Pilot Al Bean, Apollo 17 Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmidt, and Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Ed Mitchell. I also met, but did not really speak with, Apollo 16 Lunar Module Pilot Charlie Duke and Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin.

This was at the premiere of In the Shadow of the Moon, a Discovery Films documentary about the Apollo missions.

Apollo 12 Lunar Module Pilot Al Bean

Apollo 17 Lunar Module Pilot Harrison Schmidt

Harrison Schmidt talking about NASA's new push to visit the moon

Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Ed Mitchell

Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Ed Mitchell talks about the possibility of returning to the moon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


TOPEKA, Kan. (September 4) - The Kansas Board of Education rejected the use of man-made stone tools Tuesday, dealing a victory to Neanderthal special interests who are increasingly challenging education in U.S. schools.

The 12-member board, ignoring pleas by more highly evolved Cro-Magnons, voted seven to five to embrace new standards for school curricula that eliminate the creation of stone tools and the fire bow as the underlying principle of educational advancement.

"It good thing," said Zog-who-live-in-big-cave-high-on-hill, a Neanderthal hunter-gatherer and school board member who helped create the new standards.

"Fire hurt," Zog said, adding that the use of stone tools and fire by students was "bad thing."

Individual schools can continue to teach higher forms of tool making, in classes between elementary and high school. However, knowledge of the creation and use of hand axes, and understanding of how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, will not be required and will not be needed to pass state-sanctioned tests.

School board members who were opposed to removing tool use from the curriculum recoiled at the change.

"Fire good. Fire is friend. Stone help kill animal. Get more food. Leave more little ones. Big smart babies," board member Oothar-Moon-Watcher, a Cro-Magnon, said.

Fire husbandry is traditionally thought to have been developed many seasons ago by the legendary Alley-Oop the Great. Use of fire, which is a creative as well as a destructive force, has been controversial ever since, leading to many attempts to ban the teaching of new technologies.

Stone tools are even older, dating back to Australopithecene use nearly 3 million seasons ago.

Prior to Tuesday's vote, the presidents of Kansas' six public universities wrote a letter saying the new standards "make Kansas weak. No fire is no stone tool and no spears. No spears is no fight Wakabu tribe! Wakabu come, take women. Make fiky-fik. Make Wakabu babies. Bad."

Prior attempts by Neanderthal groups to discard tool using in school curricula included a failed attempt in Arkansas in 2003 to ban the use of the wheel.