When Nelson Mandela turned 70 there was quite a bit of coverage in the news here. He was still in jail, so I called Cape Town information, got the number, phoned the jail and left a message ("Happy Birthday!") for him.
The man who answered the phone sounded like he'd been on the phone a lot that day. He was also very careful to take down my name and where I was calling from. I suspect that until the government changed there would have been little point in trying to get a visa to visit South Africa...
The technology to autonomously deliver payloads with high accuracy has been around for a long time. I remember years ago people staring wide-eyed when I pointed out that the same technology that delivers bombs could be adapted to deliver more useful things like food and medical supplies. And now goodies from Amazon & Co.
As a pilot I wonder about the aeronautical issues. The authorities are clearly up in the air
on the subject (pun intended...
A question that comes up a lot is if Delicas do so well in Canada, why didn't Mitsubishi sell them here at the time?
My answer: all Mitsubishi products in Canada at the time were captive imports, sold as Dodge products (e.g. Dodge Colt). Would you still want one if it said "Dodge" on it?
Mitsubishi sold a 2 wheel drive gas-engine L300 in the U.S.A. as the Mitsubishi Vanwagon. They were largely ignored at the time, and are pretty well extinct now.
Here in B.C. we had a stink a few years ago over privately imported vehicles from Japan. Under Canadian law you can privately import anything you like if it's over 15 years old, and in the mid-noughties a lot of interesting vehicles started to turn 15. Since they are essentially worthless in Japan, but well looked-after, they're a bargain for anybody who wants a used car. Japan has made a major industry of exporting their used cars. Unlike many other jurisdictions, cars with the steering wheel on the "wrong" side are road-legal here.
The car dealers threw a fit. They claimed that right-hand drive vehicles were the enemy of all that is free and right and holy, but were never to adequately explain why. I wondered why they were concerned about their ability to compete with 15 year old used cars. Again, they were never able to adequately explain why.
It's died down. For now. But you never know what they're going to try next.
I bought a 1992 Mitsubishi L300 Delica in 2007. I love it. A touch expensive to run, but ridiculously practical and it will go anywhere with shift-on-the-fly 4WD. It also has a delightfully quirky style.
My bank card PIN is four digits. It's not the year I was born, nor is it any other year (or other four-digit number, for that matter) that you will find in my personal information.
For computer passwords I like the "first letter of a phrase" algorithm, producing passwords like TbontbTitQ and MRwiTDtESSahtuwws. Or pick a phrase, l33t it up a bit, and come up with something like W1nd0ze1sTehSux0r3. Long passwords are good.
The worst public web site I've encountered for silly password requirements is U.S. Customs eAPIS, which you use to send your information if you're going to fly privately to the U.S.A. Not only does it enforce silly password requirements, it doesn't tell you about them until after you have typed in your new password and it tells you why your password sucks. Yes, I end up writing them down.
Without decent battery life a portable gadget is useless. My cellphone (Samsung) is starting to show its age in this department.
Some years ago I bought a Palm Tungsten to play with. I thought I might be able to come up with some interesting programs for it with the open-source development toolchain, and I did. Except that its battery life was pathetic. I tossed it when I cleaned house last year...
It's as simple as that.
I live in an apartment building. I've discussed the matter with the building management but we haven't come up with an answer. While new buildings must have electrical hookups for electric cars, there is no incentive to retrofit old buildings.
But we cannot depend on success any more than buying a lottery ticket to feed a family.
No one is saying that we should "depend" on it. And there are serious physicists and mathematicians who do doubt that these systems will ever work, but most of that concern is practical: that the fundamental difficulties involved are just too big to ever scale to practical sizes.
Because my career isn't in theoretical physics, I can get away with making controversial statements that at least should be considered.
That you can "get away" with something isn't a reason to do it. And if your career isn't in theoretical physics, computer science, math, or particle physics, then that's all the more reason you shouldn't throw out controversial statements as gospel when they likely are wrong. There's a massive difference between "We should consider if maybe X is true" and "X is true."