Makes A Little Too Much Sense

Every now and then, I read something very enlightening and surprising, and I find myself blown away that more people don’t know about it.  It’s usually buried on the 15th page of a newspaper that seems far more front page worthy than whatever’s there.  I wonder: why aren’t more people talking about this?  Each month, I’ll call one out and provide a line of perspective. Send me any ideas you have!

The Writer Automaton, Switzerland
https://www.chonday.com/15454/the-writer-automaton/

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This story’s amalgamation of engineering, precision controls and life science made it very interesting to me.  The fact that it resulted in a doll created 240 years ago that can write custom text up to 40 letters long…that is outright mind-blowing.  And of course, as a writer I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony that a wooden statue operates autonomously as an author.  

At first I just thought this was a cool idea, but the more I thought about it the more applicable to bigger-picture-thriller-type thinking I found the concept to be.  If you believe there are limits to what scientists today can do to advance the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics, this story about what a watchmaker did two-and-a-half centuries ago might make you think twice. 

Makes No Sense

Some things out there just make you scratch your head.  Each month I’ll call one out and provide a perspective.   Send me any ideas you have!

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Daylight Saving Time is super unpopular. Here are the countries trying to ditch it.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2018/11/03/daylight-saving-time-is-super-unpopular-here-are-countries-trying-ditch-it/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a8bda84ec45c

Within the USA, there’s one state that wants Daylight Savings Time to be standard (FL) and two that don’t practice it at all (HI and most of AZ).  Outside of the USA, 70 countries change their clocks twice a year but the rest don’t (including all of China and Japan). Those two facts alone can make DST confusing, even annoying.  But mix them and you get a formula for craziness and frustration. Recurring international business conference calls need to be updated, meeting times will abruptly conflict with local lunch hours and people will need a week or two to adjust (on top of potential language barriers).  Getting in touch with someone travelling across multiple time zones is much easier said than done. All this for something that very few people actually feel is a benefit. The 1784 idea from Benjamin Franklin may’ve had its merits back then, but in today’s “flat” we should just pick a standard and go with it. 


Makes A Little Too Much Sense

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Using One Disease To Fight Another
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article214018799.html

J. Lee: Doctors at Duke University are using polio, one of the “most potent cell-killing viruses there is” to attack brain tumors.  Beyond the obvious remarkable, pioneering and creative thinking of the doctors, as well as the brave, faithful and courageous patients to first try it, this story is so amazing it astounds me that we don’t hear about it more.  Only four percent of brain cancer patients survive beyond three years but so far 21% of the study’s patients have made it at least that long. Furthermore, the implications are staggering: could this be applied to other types of cancerous cells or different diseases altogether?  This is the kind of stuff we need to hear more about on a regular basis. Carry on, wise doctors.

Makes A Little Too Much Sense

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This Teacher On A Plane Talked About Her Low-Income Students. Passengers Overheard And Gave Her More Than $500 In Cash
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/07/17/this-teacher-on-a-plane-talked-about-her-low-income-students-passengers-gave-her-more-than-500-in-cash/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f6faf4e029ca

J. Lee: Stories like these sell papers almost as much as they inspire people. Why can’t newspapers feature them instead of the rapes and murder-suicides that bring us all down?

Makes No Sense

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How To Un-Shrink Crocs Shoes That Have Shrunk
https://feet.thefuntimesguide.com/shrink_crocs_shrunk/

J. Lee: One day my daughter’s tea party on our deck – which required all imaginary participants to take off their shoes – resulted in my Crocs sitting out in the sun for a few hours.  When I put them on afterwards, they felt two sizes too small.  My wife smirked when I told her, but I looked it up and sure enough it’s not just me (this time).  If this happens often enough, can’t they design shoes that don't shrink? True story: I like them so much we boiled my Crocs for five minutes and immediately inserted my feet to try to stretch them out.  It was relatively unsuccessful.