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Review: Intel ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) Public Day

May 17, 2018 Leave a comment

 

ISEF Public Day 2018

(c)2018 Intel ISEF

Review: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Us knowing ISEF was in Pittsburgh started out by attending a tour of CCAC. The one professor my step-daughter talked to strongly suggested that she check out ISEF on the public day (as he would be judging one of the areas). We’d like to thank Abiraman Srinivasan for that.

Keep in min my step-daughter goes to one of the most highly rated public school districts in the area. Nobody informed her of this opportunity, nobody knew about it when asked for permission to miss part of the school day. It took one professor that did not even have my step-daughter as a possible student yet to take interest enough in that student to alert them to what was really out there.

The event was completely and unbelievably impressive. When you see a student’s eyes light up when they realize what opportunities are really out there – it makes you overjoyed that you took the time to act on a suggestion.

Half way through the event, I asked my step-daughter if she would have handled high school differently if she knew what opportunities were out there she said “yes”.

The problem is when events like this happen very few schools get their students to them. Sadly this does create a lack of inspiration in our young to have any ambition for higher education. You have to know about the goals to have ambitions towards them.  Kudos to Intel for making this possible … even if you don’t like their processors. This is truly a company giving back to the community.

The only bad side to the event was the realization of how far behind the US is in education. A family member works for a very well-known tech college in Pittsburgh and many times you rumors of them only seeking out international students. After talking to many of these students at this event – I now know why. I spent half of my day having conversations with high school students from other countries and felt like I was speaking to seasoned scientists and researchers. When I talked to the students there from the US they were smart … but it seemed like I as speaking to high school students. Got back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s and this situation would have been flipped. I’m not bad-mouthing the US students, just indicating that we may need to get rid of the entitlement thing big time in this country so we can do some catching up.

In an unexpected and enlightening realization – this even also proved one thing. When there is a very strong common interest or goal people from all walks of life have absolutely nothing against each other. In this even where people of persuasion that the news depicts as absolutely hating each other.  Not a sign of any discomfort between any students, their parents, volunteers, or attendees. None. All of then had one common goal – advance science. We need to learn from this.

In summary – this was an amazing even from a multitude of viewpoints. If ISEF is happening and it’s not in your area and you have a student trying to figure out what to do with their higher education that may give them a real opportunity to actually pay for that education and still have enough left over for a real life – fly them to it.  It’s worth the cost of plane ticket. ISEF if an immense opportunity to simply expose students to the information about careers and opportunities that exist in current times and the future.

Give people opportunities and peace will happen automatically by giving the ability to have food,shelfter, and quality of life.

Big Kudos to Intel for sponsoring this event!

-SWB

 

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National indie bookstore day

April 27, 2018 Leave a comment

coolstuffTake note tomorrow is Indie Bookstore Day (April 28, 2018) – click here for info. Despite the fact that “they” have deemed bookstores a dying breed … I completely disagree.

I do believe that hands are being changed from the Wally World sized mega libraries, back to where books belong … with the indie dealers that love them, and know them. I don’t care who you are, but the experience of buying something from someone that actually uses the product, or in this case, has read it …. makes a big difference.

I like going into my indie bookstore, where the shop keep (yes, I watch to much British TV) might have a bit of a intellectual “attitude” because they actually read their books on something other than a pad or phone (which means they actually comprehended the book too). I like the fact that they can hold a conversation with me on an author, a subject, or an issue – and have a clue.  Try that at Goliath Books!

We have a great indie store near where I live called The Penguin Bookshop. Great selection, and it sort of reminds me of Black Books – except the people at Penguin are actually sober.

If it’s in stock tomorrow I will be buying Alan Alda’s new book on communicating.  Check it out here.

If you aren’t buying books, buy one tomorrow (or maybe today) …. start a habit!

-SWB

Out Of A Coma

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

We’re back …. or at least out of a coma.

Slightly after our little stint of “help” from the folks at Sophisticated Pittsburgh on upping our number of blog writers, they in fact lost many of theirs.  In other words people got real jobs, go married, or just disappeared of the face of the earth at SP.  As a result, we are coming back to our original self.

So, about our original self. The blog experimentally started in 2005, and was moved to .mac via the Apple iWeb.  We started writing around the time that PittGirl, CafeWitness, and others started and gained one of the top growing blog rankings ending up with 2000 readers per day, across 15 countries while on the .mac site.

That actually scared us, considering the amount of vomit we spewed out in those days along with the other rant blogs.  I’m not sure we’ll be as harsh these days, but we’ll try.

BTW – while we were hosting on .mac, Apple kindly asked us to move our site due to their product not being originally made for the amount of throughput we were getting.

So, around Spring of 2008 we moved to WordPress.

The Weasel is back, and we will be blowing word chunks as far as possible.

Cheers

-SWB

Forgetfulness and Steel – History Repeats Itself

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” … I hated my high school history teacher because he made a vow to fail us all (not a challenge, mind you, an actual vow) … but the above was his favorite quote, and it’s the one critical piece of life that I learned from him.  Unfortunately our country and our government is proving that taking on this attitude about history is really one of the keys to sustainability and survival.

The situation that lead to the current financial crater that is wall street can be blamed on ignoring the “forget history and you will guarantee it will happen again” advice.  Our current situation is eerily similar to one not too long ago … the plight of the steelworker.  You had two groups, both hard working, strong, and carrying large egos.  Neither would give in, neither would compromise … both had a fight until the end attitude.  Some say that represents honor. Some say that represents stupidity.

The end result was many losing homes, life long possessions, families, and what defined them as a human …. the steel industry. A few mentioned over the years that it wasn’t that compromise would not happen that made the steel industry fade away as we know it, but how long it took to get to a point where compromise could or would happen. By the time it progressed to the point of possible compromise, other countries took advantage of the opportunity to wedge into the steel industry, and quickly separated the bulk of the US steel mills from it.

It’s not that our financial situation as a country cannot be fixed, it’s that the egos of the politicians took so long to get to any kind of initial compromise that sever damage was done, leading way to loss of everything for those just hanging on, and loss of part of what defines us as a country.  So the question is, are our politicians going to wait long enough that our country going into sheriff’s sale and gets divvied up by the other entities of the world … or will they actually defend us, instead of their egos, and restore America where the dream of raising a family is possible?

Few people realize, much of wall street is now owned by outside investors, so defending American is really not in it’s top interested …….. making the bottom line, or at least cutting losses for it’s foreign investors is.  Main Street is no longer in a position to be helped by Wall Street, because we have some of the same interests … the only protection we can gain at the wall street level is from our politicians having enough pride in their country to protect it’s residents … but it seems that if they win and are rewarded with the right to say “I was right!” it’s OK if the American Dream is reduced to finding a better dumpster to dive into for dinner tonight.

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” ….

Translation: “Stupid is what stupid is”

-SWB

Dollar Bank and MasterCard Drop the ball big time

June 7, 2011 Leave a comment

First … to consumers, this is a credit/debit card alert (and most likely you’ll hear it from us WAY before hearing it from Dollar Bank or Master Card): MasterCard caught a processor possibly fraudulently charging to customer accounts, so cards were shut off and/or canceled.

Now on to the rant.  After standing in a store having my card twice declined as a debit, and then declined as a credit, I called the number on the card to see what was going on.  They informed me there was a card security issues and my card was shut off and canceled. When I asked who was the “offender” I was told that MasterCard does not inform Dollar Bank.

Now, I have online banking with alerts set to go to email ….. never received anything and was told by customer service that only if I had happened to log on to http://www.dollarbank.com would I have seen an alert.   Now keep in mind we left PNC for multiple reasons, one being that we felt they used bailout money to drive National City down to acquire them – which in our eyes was illegal.

…but…

When something happens on your account with PNC and previously with National City, you knew via email immediately (or within minutes) what was going on.  Not specifics, mind you, but general info … ie. “your card was shut off due to security issues, call customer service for more info.”.  Neither National City dropped the ball on their customers by not informing them especially if they had elected to be informed with their account alerts via email.

So … basically still being clueless because I don’t know what vendor I am dealing with that was trying to post fraudulent charges to accounts associated with my bank, by no fault of my own after I get my new card I will be forced to link that card or use that card with a vendor that was known to process fraudulent charges.  The best security is to immediately inform and keep your customers informed.  Dollar Bank and MasterCard both dropped the ball on that by keeping their customers in the dark.

So, we elect to give a clueless trophy to Dollar Bank for being back around the early 90s in technology that keeps their customers in the dark, and to instantly going from what we thought was the better bank in Pittsburgh to what in our opinion is now close to being a joke.

We also give MasterCard a trophy for making sure their customers are in the dark so as the thieves of the world can take their pickings.

-SWB

PS – When we had National City / Visa combo as our banking … no issues.  Dollar Bank / MasterCard … issues.  BE AWARE.

Royal Wedding – Marriage At It’s Best

image (c)www.officialroyalwedding2011.org
 

What Marriage Should Be
The Royal Wedding

Yes, like everyone else we are going to talk about the Royal Wedding, and we were amongst the many getting up at 4am to witness the start.  What we aren’t going to do is rant on about the style of hats, the fashion techniques in making them, and the sophisticated dress of the occasion. What we are going to mention is the fact that the Royal Wedding – even the media show that it was made the marriage of two people truly in love and not marrying for convenience the priority of the event. Although we’ll admit we wished we were hat designers in London this year (it would have been a retirement year).

Click Here to read the rest of the article.

I *WILL* picket that funeral ….

March 3, 2011 Leave a comment

… even if I drive a whole family just trying to grieve into an endless spiral of depression.  I DON’T CARE how they feel.

Read The Tribune Review’s coverage on the courts giving the OK to picket military funerals and basically that is the underlying message from the people taking those actions.

Personally I am a huge supporter of free speech even when I strongly disagree with what is being said.  It’s how people get their opinion’s stated, work things out, and reason we don’t have a dictator as a leader. It is America.

But …

When you use the excuse of free speech to punish a family that only wants to bury a dead son or daughter, etc with respect, you are now into a level of hate crime – not free speech.  If you want to speak out against the military, you take that to the government that can do something about it, not the grieving family that has absolutely no power to do anything.

There are two main points to prove where these people are going wrong in what they are doing (and I make these point while saying I am not in total agreement with the wars we are in also):

1. For a Christian, turning someone away from God is the worst possible outcome of the use of your faith.  If you turn up at someone’s funeral picketing with hateful messages about the loved one that just got buried because they were in the military, you are doing exactly that – turning people away from God.

2. From a free speech perspective.  You’ve just opened the door to hate crimes being condoned due to free speech court decisions. This is a quote from the Tribune-Review:

“First Amendment advocates praised the decision, saying the right to free speech must be supported no matter how hateful the message.”

That statement is the key to showing this who attitude towards picketing a military funeral is simple wrong and completely against the grain of our country.  It’s an attitude you would expect in a place like China, not America.

So now with the statement above you’ve actually opened up the Pandora’s box on the issue.  You’ve now opened up arguments that it’s OK for someone like a white supremacist to say that a statement like “All Blacks Need Killed”, etc is free speech, not pre-hate crime talk.  Did the first amendment advocates think of this before being happy that they have now cleared the way for slander to rein over this country, and for hate to quickly consume our actions??

Probably not.

-SWB

This was written to get you to think about your actions before you take action.  Free speech is a true gift that NO OTHER COUNTRY HAS.  If we, as American’s drive it into the ground just because one group wants the “we are right, the courts say so” trophy – our country will be ruined (and the right to any type of free speech will be ruined).  Our parents were right when they constantly said “think before you do”.

** SWB was allowed to write this response to the Trib’s article as an editorial, etc.  The site that now sponsors the blog is not responsible for this posts content.