Tuesday, June 12, 2007

21st Century Life

A few things to share today that defines the times in which we live. Hey, it ain't always pretty, but this is our time. This is our life. This...ah, you get the idea.

First, this past May 21st, twin girls were born less than an hour apart. The first, Lauren (one of the greatest names ever! Well, with one exception), was 7 lbs, 10 ounces and was delivered by C-Section. Father then had to run to the delivery room next door to watch daughter number 2, Hannah (7 lbs, 3 ounces), arrive. That's right, next door. Turns out both girls were delivered by two separate mothers.

The first was biological mother Amy Bernaba and the second was surrogate mother Torry Keay who had Bernaba's eggs implanted in her womb. Bernaba suffers from a troublesome immune system disorder that doctors thought would prevent her from becoming pregnant. So they took her eggs and implanted them into both women at the same time. Must have been their 'Two for Tuesday InVitro' special. Been hearing great things about that.

Anyway, the girls aren't identical twins, since they were born from separate eggs, but chances are they should be able to communicate telepathically and feel each other's pain. Good for them. Here's the complete, fun filled, wholesome story. I have questions about the father filming another woman giving birth to his daughter, but my bet is they'll never be answered properly.

Take a look at this site if you have a second.

Done? Good, let's consider the possibilities together. One phone number for all your phones. You sign up, you get assigned a number and it rings on all your phones at once. Immediately, I have major reservations about my wife picking up a call that was intended for my cell phone (as do plenty of other skeevy married men, I'm sure), but the idea is intriguing. Someone calls your home number and it rings at work. Someone calls work and it rings at home. Wait, I don't like that possibility.

What I do like are the totally awesome features this has. Including call blocking (and the person will never know), checking your voice mail over email (great idea!) and forcing people not in your address book identify themselves to the system before allowing the call through (BRILLIANT!). Plus it takes commonly known telemarketers and blocks them with an authentic sounding 'This Phone Number Has Been Disconnected' message. How great is that?

The best part? It's free!! At least until they officially release and go away from the 'beta' title. One issue would be telling your friends you have a new number. Yes, they give you a brand new one that ties into existing numbers. Second, I already sort of have something like this. It's called 'My Cell Phone'. Nobody I want to talk to calls me on my home phone anymore, they all call my cell. If I could get some of the above features on my cell, I really wouldn't see the point of this at all.

On the other hand, if you change your home or cell number you don't have to tell your friends. They just keep calling the one GrandCentral set up for you and change the number that one directs to. You can keep one number for the rest of your life. Note: as personal experience has shown, this isn't always a good thing. Sometimes changing numbers filters out the....shall we say...undesirables from your life. I guess you could use the fake disconnected message to solve that issue. Still, this is a great idea and hopefully this will spur the other phone companies to offer similar things.

Finally, you have to check out this clip. This is Microsoft's new Surface Video Touchscreen technology and could, quite possibly, be the coolest thing ever. Forget those crappy data tiles I linked to earlier (although I noticed there is some version of them included here), this is the way we're heading. I should note that the military is already using a version of this for satellite imagery and mapping (there's a demo about it near the end of the clip).

What I like is the way you can place objects on the screen and drag files to it. Tell me that isn't idiot proof. Ok, it isn't. Some numbskull will figure a way to fuck things up, I'm sure. But the idea is fantastic and, judging by the demo, it seems to be working much better than their voice recognition software.

Problem number one is the price - at least $5000 and as high as $20,000 for the one with air conditioning and sunroof - but, like all new technology, once they figure a way to mass produce it the prices will come down. Right, Plasma TVs? Right.

One other note, since I seem to be in the minority in my office. I thought the ending to 'The Sopranos' was great. No, nothing happened. Yes, watching the daughter parallel park her car was pushing it. But none of that was the point. The point was the way Tony and his family have to spend the rest of their lives. Constantly on the look out. Expecting something bad to happen. Suspicious of every person that looks sideways at them. On edge constantly.

That said, the rest of the episode was a waste of time. I knew we were in trouble when they focused a lot of attention on the son - one of the most annoying TV characters in recent memory. He should date Grey from 'Grey's Anatomy'! They'd be the perfect storm of whininess.

Today's distraction: Other new inventions trying to make it our way. Really like the liquid body armor idea, but I can't help but think James Cameron will want a cut. Disaster balloons sound interesting, but if terrorists can knock out our communications towers what's preventing them from chucking darts at our balloons? Exactly. Nothing.


Jim Hammen said...

Regarding the interleague schedule questions from yesterday, there are 16 teams in the NL, only 14 in the AL, and with 6 teams in the NL Central and only 5 teams at most in any other division, usually an NL Central team sits out a round of interleague early on, then has to play someone random later. Messy, I know.

BeachBum said...

Then why don't they just move one team back to the AL. A team, like, oh I don't know...the Brewers?

I think it might be time to reconsider this whole interleague thing. Maybe take a few years off from it? Starting to lose it's appeal.

French said...

Or as Gordon Edes of the Globe suggests, lose the AL and NL separate formsts altogether. Why does the pitcher need to hit? Even the playing field and make the DH a universal thing. It's only right for baseball and the fans...

BeachBum said...

Hey, I like that idea. Why not make two conferences like the NBA. I hate the pitchers hitting. Just a wasted at bat and increases the chance of injury to one of your most valuable team members.

It was great watching the Sox get a rally going, only to have them pitch around Crisp so Dice-K would get at bat. That was fun.

Jim Hammen said...

I agree with making the DH universal, but it would never happen. Baseball purists and NL fans already whine about having the DH rule. But like you mentioned, how fun is it to have rallies killed by a pitcher hitting?

BeachBum said...

I never understood the 'traditionalist' take on the DH. Why is that worse than watching these pitchers futily hack away at pitches at eye level or swing and miss so badly they fall on their asses?

Ok, I can understand that last one as it's pretty funny. But there is nothing graceful or 'pure' about watching pitcher's hit.