Over the Horizon

2014-1

Top Ten Predictions for 2014

  1. Peak rhetoric will reach tipping point, go exponential, hit wall, go over cliff, then crash and burn
  2. Space-time expansion accelerates, clocks go to 13 hours
  3. Getting small will be big
  4. More nouns verbified, more verbs nouned
  5. Tired old clichés will be replaced with fresh new clichés
  6. Hell’s Angels will sue Wall Street to get 1% label back, Wall Street retaliates by selling Harley-Davidson to Zongshen
  7. Post-modern era ends, neo-post-retro-revival era begins
  8. November will be first annual Ignorance Awareness Month
  9. Earth’s magnetic field will reverse, the South will rise again
  10. To raise revenue government will charge for formerly free speech

Plus there’ll be a bigger, better, and more webbier terrycolon.com coming to a computer or web connected device near you.

Bonus Bet-hedging Entry

2014-2

Second Top Ten Predictions for the New Year

1. Numbers will be binary

10. Spelling wil bee dun fonetiklee

Hahpee 11101101010, yawl.

Filed 12/30/13

Makes Driving 0.000001% Easier

alternator

For my money the most pointless added convenience on a car is electric remote outside mirrors. I mean, how often do you adjust them so the cost is worth it? I’ve had my current car for several years and I adjusted the out­side mirrors maybe once, twice? Since I’m the only driver, once they’re set there’s no need to reset them. Talk about very little bang for the buck.

Electric windows are little better in my book. They’re convenient, sure. Until they break when they become expensive to fix. And you need the key in the ignition to make the windows go up and down. Which is no big deal, but annoying at times.

Then there’s power seats, electric seat warmers, power door locks, power trunk lids, et cetera and so on. Not only do they add cost up front, but also as you drive because you need a more powerful alternator for all the extra electrics you have around your car. So the engine works a little harder. So you get lower gas mileage. Not a lot lower, but little by little it adds up.

Reminds me of a cartoon I saw many years ago. A guy driving a gas-guzzling land yacht says to his passenger, “Hell, I’m rich. I can afford to waste precious resources.”

Filed 12/13/13

Fun All Over

linx

X Pix Linx

I. DIY repairs to make Red Green green with envy
II. When real dumb products aren’t dumb enough
III. Logo designs by the oblivious
IV. More dumber products
V. Translations by Chinese to English drop-outs
VI. Creepy Thanksgiving balloons on parade
VII. Commuting made stupid
VIII. Frank Lloyd Wrong builds his dream house
IX. What the?
X. Last but not least, some funny dogs (Sorry, LOL cats)

Is there a meaning to this list? Not really. Just how the interweb works – links to content better than you could do yourself. A way to garner reflected glory. Much like quoting people. Repeat a funny line, get a laugh, and it almost feels like you earned it yourself.

Filed 11/29/13

Were we Railroaded into DST?

daylight

Daylight saving time is over for 2013. How much daylight did you save? Where is it now? Seems to me spring and summer have more than enough daylight. It’s fall and winter when daylight is in short supply. Shouldn’t we have daylight saving now?

Who came up with the term, any­how? Why ‘daylight saving’ and not ‘daylight shiftingrsquo; or something more accurate? There’s no actual saving involved. The government must have come up with it. You know, like how ‘affordable housing’ meant easy loans so prices rise and house are then less affordable. At any rate, I don’t think the railroads were behind daylight saving time like they were behind time zones.

Now that we’ve reset the clocks back and sunset is an hour earlier, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, it’s going to get late early out there.

Filed 11/3/13

Hooray for Hollywar!

hollywar

A Baker’s Dozen Things I Learned From World War II Movies

  1. Machine-gunners aim at your feet, at least that’s where the bullets hit.
  2. A knife in the back instantly kills the enemy. A hail of bullets will only wound one of your own.
  3. Vehicles explode in fireballs when hit by small arms fire.
  4. Battles are won by breaking the rules, or disobeying orders.
  5. Enemy grenades have a long delay fuse so you can toss them back.
  6. Scruffiness is protective. The neater the soldier the more likely they are to die.
  7. Sergeants are smarter than lieutenants. Captains are smarter than lieutenants. Privates are smarter than lieutenants. Heck, everybody is smarter than lieutenants.
  8. Germans were automatons, or vicious Nazis.
  9. Every Frenchman was in the underground.
  10. The British liked doing things the hard way.
  11. Japanese liked dying.
  12. Italians fought the war as a sort-of joke.
  13. Every American unit had one guy from Brooklyn.

OK, I admit this bit is maybe 25 years out of date. Another thing out of date: a baker’s dozen. Have you ever seen a package of 13 baked anything?

Filed 10/14/13

When NASA Ain’t Rocket Science

deepimpact

In 2005 NASA sent the spacecraft Deep Impact to study comet Tempel 1 up close. While there were many surprises for the Deep Impact team, a bonus surprise was the explanation for one of the surprises.

A probe fired from Deep Impact blasted a hole so scientists could see inside the comet. The impact crater was much smaller than anticipated. NASA scientists said the crater appeared to have partially healed itself. How? “A lot of material was blown up and fell back into the crater.”

Things fall by gravity. The comet has very little mass, so very little gravity. Escape velocity is about walking speed, anything going away from the comet faster than that isn’t going to fall back. The probe’s impact blasted out material at over a thousand miles an hour. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure NASA’s explanation is dubious. Actually, it takes a rocket scientist to believe it’s not dubious.

The way astrophysics work these days, when they can’t explain some­thing they just invent (hypothesize) something undetectable like dark matter and dark energy. Maybe there’s undetectable bungee energy on a comet that makes matter return. Could be a Nobel Prize in that.

An alternative view of the Deep Impact mission: comets aren’t dirty snowballs, they’re electric.

Filed 10/9/13

Say Bye-bye to Cams

cam

In the last few decades some of the standard mechanical bits and bobs on a car engine have gone the way of the dodo. Carburetor, push rods, points. All gone. What’s next to head for the auto grave yard? If this promising innovation from Sweden pans out, the next thing to join inner tubes and bulb horns on the trash pile will be cam­shafts. In their place: electronic, air activated valves. A development that would have a big impact on engine size, weight, and efficiency. All together that’s better fuel mileage.

Now then, if only someone could devise a practical way to capture and use the wasted heat energy of an internal combustion engine… 150 mpg?

Filed 8/24/13

Christmas in July

unclesanta

Happy Independence Day, the secular high holy day of America. Like Christmas, it marks a birth. Like Christmas, it has a mascot.

Santa Claus or Uncle Sam?

Avuncular white guy with white hair and whiskers
Colorful, but dated costume designed by cartoonists
Can be identified by his hat alone
Childless and ageless
Keeping a list of who’s naughty or nice
Likes giving stuff away (which other people actually pay for)
Vast army of little folk working for him
Isn’t welcome in Iran
Only the gullible believe in him

Filed 7/4/13

Working But Pointless Inventions

chindogu

How often have you been doing some chore and think, “There’s got to be a better way”? You’re not alone. Gad­gets and gizmos are everywhere for doing all sorts of things. Gadget freaks love them, others find them of dubious value. Some work well, others are what you might call a bad improve­ment. Then there’s the Japanese chindogu, the unuseless idea.

Chindogu
Unuseless Japanese Inventions

Chindogu is an invention that works, more-or-less, but which there really isn’t any practical need for. Like cat mittens that are little dust mops so the cat cleans the floor as it walks around. Or a big curved hairbrush so you can comb your hair in one stroke. Then there’s an apron with hooks so you can wear all your kitchen tools. Very handy. Or is it?

These inventions aren’t quite Rube Goldbergian, they are not needlessly complex, they’re just plain needless. Chindogu, inventions without neces­sity. If necessity is the mother of in­vention, these inventions are mother­less. Which makes me wonder what the father of invention is and whether that can explain any of this nonsense.

Filed 4/22/13

Things to Come

amtrek

We like to think technology will keep improving. Modernity will get mod­erner. Things will get better, cheaper, faster. But in some cases we’ve already reached the practical limit.

Take speed of communication. With cell phones, satellites and whatnot we can talk to someone on the other side of the globe almost instantaneously. Can’t see how it could get any faster than that.

Take speed of travel. Air travel maxed out with the jet. Jet travel is actually slower today than it was 40 years ago. For one thing, the SST has been retired. Also, jet airliners fly slower today than in the 60s to save fuel. We build cars that go 100 mph, but but we don’t commute that fast, do we?

For reasons other than technology things in the future might be different than imagined.

amtrek2

The old future looks less popular than before. The Star Trek future looks less likely than ever. The new future looks a lot like the 19th century. The future ain’t what it used to be.

Filed 4/13/13

Can You See the Color for the Words?

congruent1

Below are rows and columns of words, red, green, blue, in various colors, red, green, blue. Starting at the top left, say the color of the type of each word. In other words, don’t read the word, read the color.

congruent2

Did you find it gets harder as you go down? Did you hesitate more toward the bottom? That’s because the words agree with their color at the top and less and less as you go down. At the bottom the words and colors don’t match at all. Which is to say they are congruent at the top and incongruent at the bottom. This throws us off. We see both the word and the color. When they match there’s no problem. When they don’t we have to pause and think a little to ignore the word and think of the color. Not as easy as it might seem, eh?

Filed 3/29/13

Kicking the Can Down the Road

cankicking2

Then again, maybe it’s all a matter of your point of view.

Filed 3/5/13

Where’s my Personal Robot Servant?

liesure

I remember way back when as a lad back in the 1960s, there was the notion that automation and robotics would give us extra leisure time. What happened to that? The standard work week is still forty hours. True, our leisure time is jam-packed with lots of ultra-modern gadgets, gizmos and whatnot, but we don’t have any more actual leisure.

Come to think of it, what with the two income household, many families have less. On the other hand, what with the shrinking workforce it seems we have more leisure in aggregate, just some people have full-time leisure whether they want it or not. Leisure, unemployment, same thing.

Maybe we should have a full-time part-time workforce. That is, the work week goes to 3 days. Half the people work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. The other half work Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Bingo, full employment and everyone has extra leisure time. Heck, there’d be a labor shortage. We’d have to raise the retirement age to 75 or something. Then again, maybe everybody would just have two jobs.

Never mind.

Filed 2/6/13

Missing What’s Right Under Your Nose

bus

Here’s an old gag about paying atten­tion. It works better verbally than in writing, but here it is nonetheless.

An empty bus makes a stop and five people get on. At the next stop two people get off and four people get on. At the next stop six people get off and three people get on. At the next stop three people get off and seven people get on. At the next stop five people get off and two people get on. At the next stop three people get off and eight people get on. At the next stop two people get off and four people get on.

Now then, without rereading, how many stops did the bus make? So then, how well did you pay attention? To the right thing? Here’s a one and a half minute video to test your ability to pay attention.

Basketball Attention Test

Filed 1/23/13

I Hate “Gifting”

unicorn

Often folks wish certain words and buzz-phrases would just go away and die, already. To that end, the Unicorn Hunters of Lake Superior State Uni­versity nominate words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. This sentiment crops up for a few reasons: people are sick to death of hearing it, the word or phrase has grown stale, a cliché; people use them in the wrong place, or at the wrong time, or to mean the wrong thing; the word or phrase was stupid, wrong, misleading, inaccurate from the gitgo.

Take the word gifted. Please. Not gifted meaning blessed with talent, but gifted meaning the past tense of gift. As in, “My aunt gifted this jewelry to me.” I hear this usage on Antiques Roadshow a lot. But gift isn’t a noun to have a past tense. She gave a gift. A gift was given. A gift was gifted? Was the gift somehow blessed with talent?

Perhaps the Unicorn Hunters are stalking this one as I write. If not, I gift it to them forthwith.

Filed 1/12/13

How to Boost GDP Without Really Trying

self-self

To bolster the slow economy the staff at TerryColon.com have forwarded our complete plan to Congress, the Full Employment Act of 2013. This com­prehensive well-laid-out bill promises to end unemployment permanently, jumpstart the economy and raise needed tax revenue. The genius of the bill is it simply reclassifies anyone without a paying job as self-self-employed.

As our chief executive acting editor pro tem, John Kainz explained, “Just because you don’t have a job doesn’t mean you aren’t working. Chores are work, right? You simply pay yourself for this work. This keeps the money in the family which is good for the personal economy. To increase income homeowners could simply dig holes, fill them in, then pay themselves for both.”

While this aspect of the bill alone would drive unemployment to zero, there are added extras. First is the maximum wage provision which would require all self-self-employed persons to pay themselves prevailing wages for jobs done around the house. Combined with the Grecian formula of paying yourself 14 monthly checks a year the self-self-employed can bootstrap themselves to higher income in no time at all.

As the formerly unemployed are now gainfully self-self-employed, the tax stimulus multiplier kicks in as these wages will be subject to income taxes and the hefty 3/4 FICA payments familiar to the self-employed. The estimated added taxable income from dish washing and laundry alone will close budget shortfalls and keep America spic-and-span to boot.

These self-payments will greatly increase GDP by adding an entirely new category to the equation, a combined consumption-investment called onantion. (C+I+G+O=GDP) This addition promises to grow the economy out of the recession into unprecedented boom times overnight turning Gross Domestic Product into Grosser Domestic Product. Full employment, higher income, deficit reduction, and increased GDP at a single stroke. It’s a win-win-win-win.

You can thank us later.

Filed 1/8/13

The Ministry of “Quotations”

quotations

According to unnamed reliable sources the European Union will soon announce the formation of the Min­istry of “Quotations” to oversee media citations of all EU announcements and denials of previous announcements. In future, all media citations must fit within strictly defined classifications: unnamed, well-placed, unnamed well-placed, un-quoted, official, unofficial, official unnamed, official un-quoted, official well-placed, reliable, unnamed reliable, well-placed reliable, official unnamed well-placed, and unofficial un-quoted unnamed well-placed reliable.

The Ministry of “Quotations” has set up a website to help the media and the reading public understand what the new classifications mean. A well-placed reliable source said the site will be user-friendly, featuring a cute feline mascot named Miss Information to lead readers through the many details.

An unnamed well-placed source didn’t clarify whether when spoken the new entity should be said as “Min­istry of quote Quotations unquote” or simply stated as “Ministry of Quota­tions” with air quotes given at the appropriate moment. A second well-placed reliable source claimed air quotes should not be used so as not to offend the satirically challenged. When contacted, a third unofficial un-quoted unnamed well-placed reliable source denied everything.

Filed 1/2/13

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