Voting Night Coverage Streaming Via the Beeb

Last night, I watched the BBC’s streaming coverage of the UK “leave/remain” referendum.

Some observations:

The vote is similar to what is happening in the U.S. Presidential election: a vote less about party or even traditional viewpoints of conservative vs. liberal. It’s all about big-city vs. little village. (Or “provincial” as they’d call it in the U.K.) As a coping mechanism, I’ve refused to believe that Donald Trump can actually be elected President, but watching the coverage last night gave me pause.

Not having commercials during election coverage is worth whatever tax the UK citizens pay that allows me to watch their coverage for free. Thank you, UK taxpayers.

The ridiculously over-blown 3-D visualization graphic they have developed is a lesson that should teach you: just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do it.

Dreamland’s Rhonda Gets the Conversation Started

Rhonda represents the marketing manager who frequently attends conferences or workshops about various forms of online media.

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Netflix is streaming the Australian TV comedy Utopia (due to copyright issues, it is titled Dreamland in the UK, Canada, and US). While it is not a parody documentary (mockumentary), in some ways it is similar to The Office with over-the-top clichéd characters representing the spectrum of incompetence one finds in any bureaucracy of workers — especially within a bureaucracy that is comprised of lots of people who don’t actually know what the goals of the organization are. Shows like this work because there are always a character or two who actually do understand the difference in the substance and the fluff of any organization. It is through their eyes we see the world in which they exist; the world that can, at times, remind us of our own.

Like Silicon Valley, the HBO comedy about a tech startup, the/Dreamland writers are spot-on in capturing the techish-marketing-buzz-speak vocabulary of the mid-2010’s. The creative key to both shows is having the purpose of the organizations be recognizable and somewhat accurate to viewers who work in those fields, while having the personalities and interactions of the characters be recognizable universally.

As you can see from the clip below, Rhonda represents the marketing manager who frequently attends conferences or workshops about various forms of online media. She returns to the office enthusiastically and doggedly drawing priorities away from important projects to superficial online projects.

She is awesome.

Larry Page Thinks the Time Has Come for Flying Cars (Don’t we All?)

I do believe there will be a place for flying cars, but they will be nothing like in the Jetsons.

Bloomberg is reporting (and here) that Google co-founder Larry Page is backing two flying car startups. He’s invested over $100 million in Zee.Aero and is also an investor in a competing company called Kitty Hawk. (Love that name.)

The 12 readers of this blog know that in 2008, I decided to post items about flying cars, a topic that I thought was somewhat whimsical, but that has been a standard feature of “the future” in science fiction literature.

flyingcar2008-20081211-222926My project lasted one year and ended with my wrap-up of that year’s 10 best posts about flying cars.

Since then, however, I often get pinged by those who see stories about flying cars. And so, from time to time, I’ll post items about the topic.

For the record, my favorite “post-2008” stories are about a company called Terrafugia. Nearly every year since 2008, the company has made some sort of announcement that suggests a commercial version of their concept will be on the market “next July.” They continue to make announcements and videos.138438.strip_39

For the record, despite being a bit tongue in cheek about the topic, I do believe there will be a place for flying cars, but they will be nothing like in the Jetsons. I think they’ll be more like drones.

(Update on July 11, 2016 due to change in theme design.)

Not So Smart

Donald Trump can say anything and won’t lose voters. To win in November, however, he must appeal to new voters.

Yesterday, the NYTimes reported that during a conference call with former governors and senators, Trump described some of his campaign team as being “not so smart” for suggesting his supporters should stop criticizing Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel (judge in the Trump University class action case) and stop blaming the Indiana native’s Mexican heritage as the reason he released previously sealed documents related to the case.

Rebuking his staff–and the long list of Republicans “leaders” who have begrudgingly endorsed him but immediately tried to run from him when he started attacking the judge–Trump said they all should keep claiming Judge Curiel is against Trump because Curiel’s parents are from Mexico. Trump instructed his followers (and endorsers?) to keep accusing reporters of being “racists” for asking questions

Quote in the NYTimes.com:

It was a breathtaking display of Mr. Trump’s belittlement of his own team on a call with former governors and senators, as well as others supporting his candidacy.

I understand–at least in theory–that people of all beliefs have cognitive biases that are nearly impossible to dislodge. Their beliefs are so embedded they react to any challenge to their way of thinking with a “backfire effect”–they dig their heels in even more.

But when Trump rebukes and belittles his staff and the elected officials who are the “boots on the ground” of a presidential election–because they won’t ignore the Constitution they’ve sworn to protect and defend–it is time to accept the fact that he is exploring new territory of the absurd.

Of all the unbelievable things  Donald Trump has said during the past few months, one of them is now believable. He said it in January, before the Iowa caucus:

“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

Donald Trump can say anything and won’t lose voters. To win in November, however, he must appeal to new voters. I don’t believe he can attract enough to be elected President. Or, perhaps I am exhibiting a cognitive bias by believing that.

Or maybe I’m just not so smart.

Happy Bike to Work Day, Nashville | 2016

As the 12 regular readers of this blog know, I try to commute to work by bicycle 2-3 times a week. I do it for recreation, transportation and enjoyment. Obviously, there are many health-related benefits from riding a bike 15 miles round-trip, but I don’t use the “exercise” word when discussing bicycling. Exercising is something I avoid. Riding a bike is something I love.

I’m heading out now for Bike to Work Day. Below is a map where different groups will meet-up for the ride into work.

In 2013, I posted some maps to show my route into work to show my fellow-Nashvillians that there are ways to ride into downtown without getting into traffic. You can find that post here.

I love riding a bike for fun. You should try it. (I and many others are trying to make it safer and easier to ride bikes and walk in Nashville. That day will come.)

(If you don’t see a map below, click here.)