Big Picture life Technology Web Stuff

Wolfram|Alpha & I'm halfway there.

wolframalphaWolframAlpha was launched this week. It’s been touted as the possible Google killer. While that is yet to be seen, it is pretty cool. I see it as Google for math geeks, but then again I have only tried it out for about 1/2 hour.

If you type in your birthday, you get all kinds of info about the date. I am officially 38 years 9 months and 29 days old. Or for the more math-happy 2026 weeks, 14182 days or 38.83 years ago. I was born on the 199th day of the 29th week.

Half my life is over

According to WolframAlpha, the life expectancy for a 38 year-old male is 77.54 years. Divided by 2, you get 38.77. Wait a minute. Didn’t I say that I was 38.83 years old? That means that this week marks the halfway point of my life. (In fact, if I do the math, it was yesterday) Wow, that’s depressing. Or is it?

I don’t want to dwell on this for too long. However, we all know that I will.I guess the real question is: What will I do with the remaining 14182 days? Enough for now, this post is about WolframAlpha.

Other Cool Wolfram Stuff

Did you know that my son is 6″ taller than the average 7 year old?
I finally know how much wood could a woodchuck chuck?
If you are vain (and who has not “Googled” themselves?) you get your name rank. (Before you ask, Smith is number 1)
You can compare stocks.
Want all the information about weather you can handle?
And of course, how far is it from Danville to Cleveland?

Wolfram is still in alpha, meaning that it was just launched and there are plenty of bugs. Gotta run, my life is 1/2 over and I got a bunch of crap to do!!!

Big Picture life

Putting it all in perspective.

perspective - burning man 2007Priorities, sometimes they get screwed up, sometimes they’re in perfect alignment. I have always been a fairly level-headed person (no comments from the peanut gallery). What I mean is that I have always tried to think about the consequences of my actions. Putting into perspective the “bigger picture”. It’s helped me make better choices.

When I was 19-years-old, I went off to SIU. I joined a fraternity, I blew off class, I enjoyed the bar age in Carbondale being 18. Bottom line: I took in all the college experience. After one semester, I was on told that if my grades didn’t improve, I would be booted from the School of Business (SOB). I came back in the spring and picked up where I had left off; Thursday Night Club at the Tap, the weekend begins on Tuesday, FAC (Friday afternoon club), etc, etc, etc. At the end of the year, I got my grades, along with a letter from the SOB telling me that I was officially in the category of “Undeclared Major”, as I had been kicked out of their group. Then I got the letter from SIU that said, “If my grades did not improve in the next semester, I would be asked to leave campus.” Wow, kicked out of my major and put on academic probation, I’m making good choices now.

I will never forget getting that letter. I showed it to my dad and in typical Russ-fashion. He said, “Son, there is no shame in coming back and working at the bank. If you want to be a teller all your life, that is your choice. If you want more than that, you have some work to do.” That’s my dad. No, red-faced, “What the hell is this letter?” No sobbing. Just tell it like it is. The choice I made right there and then is that I didn’t want to be a teller all my life (no offense to career tellers, you are the most important people at any bank).

I went back to school, watched “Where there’s a will, there’s an A.”, got a job on campus, pleaded with the dean to let me back into the SOB (she did), studied, and made the Dean’s list every semester after that. My dad put it in perspective for me with one conversation. I’m forever grateful that my parents always helped me put things in perspective. In a small part, I think that’s what my blog has become. I am amazed at how many of my friends read this and tell me they get something out of it. I’m thankful to all of you.I was approached by three different people last night that told me they enjoy what I write. That tells me to keep writing (no surprise I’m posting the morning after those kind words).

Life gets crazy sometimes. We all have careers, kids, kids activities, houses to maintain, bills to pay. But don’t be afraid to take a step back, and think about things and make some big picture choices for your betterment, down the road. Be it a diet, quitting smoking, ending a bad relationship, or moving forward on a good one (as afraid as you might be). It won’t always work out as planned, and guess what? That’s ok. But you at least gave it a fighting chance by thinking it through and moving forward on what’s important for you.

Big Picture life

Rotary Memorial Way

Rotary Memorial Way
Rotary Memorial Way

Every year in Danville, the Danville Rotary Club lines Vermilion Street with flags over Memorial Day weekend.  If you have been in Danville over Memorial Day weekend, you probably know what I’m talking about.  The club has kicked off their flag sales for this year.

Starting at the Vermilion County War Museum (the former Danville Public Library) and going as far north as we can, we line flags with the names of soldiers on them every few feet.  Last year, we sold almost 1400 flags.  It stretched about 3 miles.  Our goal this year is to sell 1800 flags.  I serve as President of our club and would love to see us surpass last years total.

If you would like to sponsor a flag, it only costs $5.  Simply fill out this form and mail it, with your money to the address on the form. Please help us meet our goal.  Thanks.

Big Picture life

Teach your kids not to suck.

special2.jpgTo say that growing up I was nice to every kid that I came into contact with would be a flat-out lie. I think that me and some of my classmates could have put a couple of kids in therapy later in life. I was not a bully. I have never been in a fight in my life. My quick tongue kept me out of those. I did pick on kids that were different from me. I’m not proud of it, but it happened.

My 5th grade teacher taught me a lesson one day. We made fun of some girl in our class, don’t ask me why maybe she said something silly or whatever. Our teacher said, “You guys are making fun of her?” He then proceeded to pick something off each one of us. Me? He said,”Souza, you got a big booger hanging out of your nose, maybe we should call you Booger-Nose.” Now, by today’s standard, I could have him brought up on charges, but then, it did what it was meant to do; Put me in my place.

I have a simple request for all parents: Teach your kids not to suck. (Underlying message: Teach them some acceptance.) When you see a child with Downs Syndrome, tell your child not to stare. When you see someone in a wheelchair, explain to your child that they use a chair because they can’t walk. Explain to them that just because they look different from you, that they have the same feelings as you. Don’t use the term “retard”, it degrading. Special Olympics has started a campaign to end the use of the “R-Word.”

When my son sits down next to your kids and they scoot away and say “eeewwww.” It hurts. I’m not naive enough to think that kids will stop being kids, but if you can teach your kids that we are all God’s creatures, we will go a lot further on this planet.

Big Picture Economy Web Stuff

Dan Ariely on TED

I found another TED talk that is worth sharing. This one is by Dan Ariely. He’s a faculty member at MIT. His talk is about “Why we think it OK to cheat and steal (sometimes). He shares his insight to the recent round of wall street woes. It’s 18 minutes, so grab a cup of coffee and watch away.