A timely reminder

It’s never a bad thing to read cautions about human folly. The quotation above accompanies a long, chart-heavy essay titled Three Delusions: Paper Wealth, A Booming Economy, and Bitcoin, by John P Hussman, PhD.

PhDs can be very wordy people, so I am going to cherry-pick just two observations from Dr Hussman’s piece, for your enjoyment.

The reason that delusions are so hard to fight with logic is that delusions themselves are established through the exercise of logic.
— Hussman

Here’s a second one to ponder, which Hussman quotes under the subhead The delusion of Bitcoin.

We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.
– Charles Mackay

I’ve never read anything by Charles Mackay, but maybe I will.

Cryptocoin greed hurts

Cryptocoin mining is the latest threat to bloggers like me. Robotic attacks numbering more than 14 million per hour are being logged, as hackers attempt to use other people’s bandwidth for their “mining”.

Briefly, people can “earn” digital coins by using computers to perform masses of calculations. The more computer power you put to work, the more coins you get. Thus the incentive to steal computer power from others.

For now, scans indicate that this blog is not being hijacked, but I have noticed brief service interruptions in the last few days. Erecting vigilant defences would be costly and not worthwhile for an ad-free site like mine.

Ripple” is one of many cryptocoins. New interest is being shown in my ripple.ca domain name.

Perhaps the internet, as I have been able to use it, will simply die of greed. There are open source developments gaining attention that could provide alternatives to the vulnerable, centralized structures we are used to. I’ll be looking into them, in the coming year.

Guess who

I have recently been viewing and appreciating the work of an established British artist named Maggi Hambling. She is well known for portraits but she lists this person’s image as a painting, not a portrait.

Obviously Hambling is saying something about the subject … or her feelings about the subject. Without the title, how would you respond? Does it matter who is represented?

You do know the subject. John Robert Colombo and Gord Smith knew him personally, as a matter of fact. I’ll give the name in the Comments.

Our floating fleamarket

The Leslieville Fleamarket floats from one location to another. This weekend it occupied the Rorschach Brewing Company on Eastwood.

There were so many shoppers buying gifts that Santa seemed left with little to do.

Ho, ho, hum

Danica and I have yet to eat at the Rorschach, but the menu looks inviting and the place seems to buzz with a variety of events. The fleamarket will probably return because the location works. There’s some free parking on the street, lots more paid parking right alongside, and it’s not a long walk from Queen Street.

Curious discovery

How many people do you know who could clean up their room and discover an unpublished manuscript waiting to be turned into a book? I know only one.

When John Robert Colombo rediscovered his Curious Canadiana manuscript recently, he notified publisher George Vanderburgh who promptly formatted the text for proofreading and printing.

I get to do the cover, as I have done for quite a few Colombo books. Above is a sneak preview. For the out-of-focus background, I chose a bit of Canadiana familiar to the whole country … the anti-graffiti decorations on our post boxes. Author and publisher have given me the green light.

I guess we need one or two examples of curious Canadian facts, don’t we?

LEFT: Dr Harvey and The Brain – RIGHT: Young Leonard Cohen

How about Einstein’s brain? Dr. Thomas S. Harvey, who did the autopsy in 1955, took the brain without permission. Forty years later, he drove to McMaster University, with the preserved pieces he had kept in two mason jars. Twenty percent of the brain is still in Hamilton. The rest has been sent off to other researchers.

Leonard Cohen was offered a Governor General’s Literary Award in 1968 … and he turned it down. He said it was because the poems did not merit the recognition, but it may have been more because he was feeling anti-establishment.

Transit Utopia today

It was brief … one day long … but I experienced the transit utopia promised by departing TTC CEO Andy Byford.

Open fare gates on the recently opened 2nd entrance to the Woodbine subway station

The entire system was FREE … buses, streetcars and subway … in celebration of the opening of subway service to far away Vaughn.

I used the opportunity to try out the new entrance  to the Woodbine subway station. No elevator or escalators. Access only by Presto or Metropass, not for ticket users like me … except today.

When I reached the top of the stairs, stairs, stairs,  my bus was just leaving the station across the street, but hey … I can catch it at the corner on Danforth. Errr, no I can’t. They removed that bus stop. The TTC giveth, the TTC taketh away.

To save time, I walked home.

Running two Macs on one

Occasionally, my methods for nursing old Macs along are useful to readers, so I’ll mention that I have partitioned Danica’s iMac hard drive, running the old Snow Leopard OS X on one side and the newer El Capitan OS X on the other. Now the 2008 iMac can boot up into either operating system.

There was a reason for that Mac face icon to look both ways.

Why do this? Because lots of new software won’t work properly on the older OS, but some of our older software, like Quicken, won’t work on anything newer than Snow Leopard.

This way, we can stay with the times, continue working with some ancient applications and extend the useful life of the 2008 iMac. We have already replaced the hard drive and bumped up the RAM. Why stop now?