Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Addicted to Coffee?

8:02 am - I read recently that policing was originally the responsibility of those that desired the security. That is, that originally businesses hired private security guards to guard their properties. Eventually the government saw value in it and local police forces were formed to protect not only businesses, but also personal property and people themselves. And then the federal government got involved. And with all things government, a good idea soon became ineffectual and now companies, wealthy individuals hire security guards and our neighborhood has a paid security patrol. I used to see that as a sign that the government wasn't doing its job. Now I wonder if maybe it's a job that the government isn't that great at doing. In all, it seems like government isn't great at doing a lot of things. The more I see of projects where the government acts as contractor and rule-setter and then lets private business do the job with real benefits for a job well done and real discipline for a job done poorly, the more I like the idea of a real small government. If other companies have the skill, expertise and money -- and personal drive -- to make a rocket ship, why not let NASA help fund them? Why not give 20 or 30 universities and private corporations a small amount of money and let them come up with the rest and develop 20 or 30 different ideas of how to create autonomous cars? I think this is the partnership idea and I think there's some real merit to it. To be sure, there are some jobs that maybe the government is better capable of doing, but it also seems like there are plenty of jobs being usurped by, or abdicated to, the government when private business can do it better, more effectively and cheaper.

8:14 am - I might be addicted to coffee. Or I'm just sleepy. I like to get a cup of the office sludge every morning. I like the warmth of the coffee mug, I like the smell, I like the warmth of the coffee going down. Taste is ok. Plus I've been conditioned to feel good about myself as I drink it. Well I got to the coffee pot this morning at the same time as Joy. She said it was hot, but it wasn't fresh. So I had to internally debate while she stood there... instant gratification, or delayed - but fresh - gratification? I finally opted to leave and she promised it would be ready in five minutes. I haven't been back yet, but I'm feeling really sleepy.

8:34 am - I read this morning that NYC is considering banning transfat altogether. This is an awful idea. My former boss used to think that helmet laws were dumb. His argument was that if people wanted to be stupid, they should be allowed to. I guess his commute was already so long that it wouldn't matter much to him if he had to wait longer while the CHP had to wait for the giant spatula to show up so they could scrape people off the ground. While I'm all for legislating safety, I'm not so sure about the same for legislating health. Although that's not entirely true because I do appreciate no-smoking laws. I guess I just see people eating unhealthy food as something that mostly only affects themselves whereas smoking or falling off your motorcycle and getting your head squished by a bus as something that affects those around you. Maybe a heart attack in your car from too many french fries blocking traffic, but that's not something you hear about every day, yet.

1:39 pm - A favorite quote I heard a few days ago from a colleague... "Working with so-and-so is like being handed the owner's manual for a car and being told to go and build the car." Classic.

Completely unrelated, I wrote recently about a two-vision LCD - a screen from Sharp that displayed different things depending on where you were standing in relation to the screen. Same principle as those little things we used to get as a kid where you'd move them back and forth and it looked like cheap animation. You could have one in the car where the driver saw a map while the passenger saw a movie. Or two people on opposite ends of a couch watched different things while wearing headphones. Well, that wasn't good enough and now they're showing off a three-way screen. The driver sees a map, the passenger watches a movie and the kids in the backseat watch The Wiggles. Sounds kinda cool.

2:27 pm - He's just changed it. He now says he's being asked to build the car but has only been given the glossy brochure.

5:05 pm - Time to go home. Very sleepy. Lots of stuff that's still waiting on other people's approval. This is an interesting experiment, keeping a notepad open and occasionally typing into it during the day. I imagine if I did this every day it would become annoying and boring.
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