If you clicked through the product links in my last post, you may have noticed that they went to something called “AmazonSmile”, instead of just plain Amazon. But what is AmazonSmile? It’s pretty much just Amazon – in fact, it is Amazon – but when you buy through Smile, a portion of the purchase price is donated to the charity of your choice.
When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.
You log in to Smile with your same Amazon account, and the first time you log in you are prompted to choose an organization. You can change which organization gets the donation at any time. I have my account set up to donate to my local Rescue Squad (the same one I’m a member of, actually).
I have compared between Smile and regular Amazon, and the prices I’ve checked are the same. They’re donating part of their profits (albeit a small part), not tacking on an extra charge. It seems well worth it, to me!
I encourage everyone who uses Amazon to at least consider AmazonSmile. It looks like a good setup.
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Posted by Jake on August 8, 2014
After reading Tam’s post on adding stuff to her first aid kits the other day, and seeing some offerings on Amazon, I decided (after looking at the checkbook and doing some math) that it was time to finally upgrade my current kit.
What was wrong with my old kit, you ask? Well, that requires a short history lesson. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a member of my town’s Rescue Squad. Back in the late ’90’s, we started up a bicycle EMS team for special events (mainly university football games). For that first year, while it was still being run on a trial basis, we were responsible for providing our own bicycles and our own bags for gear. Since our response area during football games included the dorms and other campus buildings, we had to be able to take our gear with us while leaving the bikes outside, so most of us used some form of fanny-pack. What I ended up getting was this:
Am I going fishing, or rescuing someone?
That is actually a fishing pack that I picked up at Wally-World. Cheap, portable, and the extra belt pockets allowed a little more organization than most fanny-packs that were available at the time. But it’s also bulky, the main compartment has no internal organization, and it’s neither marked as a first aid kit nor is it a conspicuous color.
It worked, and it has worked as my in-car kit for over a decade, but it’s far from ideal. Last week, the stars aligned and I ordered this bag as a replacement.
It’s designed from the ground up as a medical kit, has multiple internal pockets and loops for better organization, is a conspicuous color (“Rescue Red”) and can be easily marked as a medkit with a Velcro patch. It is a little smaller, with less internal volume, but I also planned on thinning out my inventory a bit, since it’s main purpose is now as an off-duty personal kit.
So, on to the RFAK (Responder First Aid Kit) building! (Below the fold, since there are several pictures to load.)
Posted by Jake on August 7, 2014
Wow, it’s, uh, been a while, hasn’t it? Well, in the immortal words of Granny Weatherwax, “I aten’t ded.” Sorry about the long silence.
Anyway, I’m actually working on a new post. It should be up in the next day or so.
Posted by Jake on August 6, 2014
Her original post is good, but she hits a home run in the comments:
Let’s say there was a company in Jackson, MS some time ago. This company was well-known for its lack of discrimination in its hiring process and corporate culture, and was recognized in the industry as someplace where the color of one’s skin was no bar to advancement.
Let’s say they hired me in as senior management and I wound up getting named CEO, the leader of the company… and then someone found out that some years back I’d been writing checks to the Decent Citizens’ Anti-Miscegenation League.
Would I then be able to continue as an effective leader in that company?
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Posted by Jake on April 8, 2014
Looking back at old science fiction stories, we can see the seeds of modern technology scattered throughout. One of the most well-known sources of this phenomenon is, of course, Star Trek. Whether it’s the “communicator” which culminated in the advent of the “flip-phone”, or the “PADD”, which pre-dated the Palm Pilot by nearly 10 years, and the now ubiquitous iPad by 23 years, we’ve been drawing real world inspiration from science fiction for nearly as long as there’s been science fiction.
Well, here we go again:
Samsung and startup VTouch are working on a deal that would allow the South Korean giant to incorporate gesture controls into its smart TVs in the future. The purpose of adding gesture controls to smart TVs is to eliminate the need for remote controls so users can rely on using hand gestures to make the TV do what they want, like changing channels, adjusting the volume, getting more information about the show they are watching.
The basic framework has been in place at the consumer level for a few years now, with technology like Microsoft’s Kinect, the Leap Motion controller, etc. Now they’re looking at incorporating it into home automation.
Of course, Douglas Adams predicted this back in 1979:
For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive–you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.
Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.
Fortunately, we’ve gotten the technology to be a little more discerning than that. Your neighbors might be irritated if a badly timed sneeze were to open all your windows, crank up your stereo, and start your robo-mower at 0300!
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[Source: Smart TVs may soon control your home, Silicon Angle article, retrieved 3/10/14]
Posted by Jake on March 10, 2014
At SayUncle, from commenter Sigivald, talking about PSH from Illinois real estate agents.
I still just can’t wrap my head around what they expect the sign to do; if the prospective purchaser is not-law-abiding they’ll just ignore the sign and have their gun.
If they are, then they were hardly a threat in the first place.
I can’t really add to that. It’s just such an obvious thing that I can’t wrap my head around the supposed problem either. It must have something to do with Magical Thinking™.
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Posted by Jake on March 5, 2014
Presented without comment.
Heroic New York boy gets firefighter funeral
Tyler Doohan, the 8-year-old upstate New York boy who rescued six relatives from a fire but died while trying to save his grandfather, will be laid to rest Wednesday with a ceremony and honor befitting a fallen firefighter, according to local fire officials.
Penfield Fire Company has kept an honor guard standing by the remains of the boy during calling hours since Monday, and at the end of a church service on Wednesday, Penfield Fire Chief Chris Ebmeyer will declare Tyler an honorary firefighter and present his family with a special fire helmet inscribed with the boy’s name.
As firefighters and sheriff’s deputies responded to a 4:45 a.m. emergency call, Tyler was able to wake six other people in the small trailer, including two more children, ages 4 and 6, the fire officials said.
Then Tyler went back into the blaze to help his grandfather, who was disabled and would have been unable to get out of the home on his own. “By that time, the fire had traveled to the back of the trailer,” Ebmeyer said at the time. “Unfortunately, they both succumbed to heat and smoke.”
The pair were found together on a bed in the back room. It appeared that the boy was trying to lift his grandfather from the bed when he was overcome by the smoke and fire, fire officials said.
It’s a bit dusty in here.
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Posted by Jake on January 29, 2014
… seems to be a bit of an understatement.
Thugs Try Brazen Robbery, Get Shot by 3 Workers, Each with their own gun
Nice! I expect they needed new underwear after that little fiasco.
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Posted by Jake on January 26, 2014
Sitting in the downtown Waffle House yesterday, I heard the folks at the next table discussing, in all seriousness, whether the rise of the Galactic Empire in Star Wars more closely resembles the transformation of Rome from republic to empire, or the rise of the Nazi regime prior to WWII.
Political history as presented in contemporary popular science fiction. Not as unserious as it sounds.
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Posted by Jake on January 12, 2014
At the Roanoke Times.
About 30 years ago as a young reporter in Florida, I was assigned a series on gun control in response to gun violence, which had peaked in the U.S. in 1980.
I began the series with profiles of three gun users, including a woman who had killed her would-be rapist, the owner of a sport shooting club and a convicted murderer on death row at the Florida State Prison in Starke.
Most dramatic was the woman, who was attacked as she entered her apartment after work one evening. She had just moved in and boxes were stacked floor-to-ceiling, nary a broom nor a pot to use in self-defense.
In her panic, she suddenly remembered the small derringer in her purse, which still hung over her shoulder. Already, the man had her pinned against the wall. Reaching into her bag, she grabbed the gun, pressed it to his side and, boom! He died instantly. To my question, she replied: “Hell, yes, I’d do it again in a New York minute.”
Or words to that effect.
Most chilling was the murderer, whose name I no longer recall. I do remember that his fingertips were oddly flared and he pressed them together, expanding and contracting his hands like a bellows. No doubt aware that I was nervous, he seemed amused by my questions.
“Sure,” he chuckled. “I’m all for gun control. Because that means you won’t have a gun. And I will always have a gun.” [Emphasis added - Jake]
I may not agree entirely with the author, but it’s at least a balanced and fair article, without the normal heavily anti-gun bias the Roanoke Times usually publishes. Go read the whole thing. It’s worth it.
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[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 9/20/13]
Posted by Jake on September 20, 2013