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two and a half things

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First off, a good cheapie deal. 250 business cards for a buck from Office Depot. They're nothing special as far as business cards go (black & white, limited formatting), but the price is perfect. At the very least, you should get yourself a set with your name and phone-number and keep a few in your wallet to drop in the "weekly drawing for a free lunch" fishbowl at restaurants.

Step 1: Go to www.officedepot.com
Step 2: Search for Item 337-776-662
Step 3: Customize the cards with your info
Step 4: Add to your shopping cart
Step 5: Enter coupon code 29540100. This will take off the price of the cards and most of the shipping

My final price with shipping was $1.07

Next, a rant. I noticed that the "doomsday clock" people have tried to grab a bit of notoriety by moving the clock-hands closer to midnight. I remember the doomsday clock when I was a kid, as it was something that was supposed to tell us how close we were to nuclear annihilation. When the Berlin Wall fell, the clock fell out of the American mindset. I just assumed that its keepers went away, but it appears that it's still around.

Problem is, IT IS STUPID!

They call it a clock, but in order for something to be a clock, it must operate using some kind of meaningful units. The clock on your wall is a useful device for measuring time because it operates on a standard, namely the "second". If your clock was free to choose what a "second" was whenever it wanted, then you'd immediately drop it in the trash because it would be useless.

And the doomsday clock is a clock without units. True it has numbers, but those numbers refer to nothing. If the clock is showing that it's two minutes to midnight or ten minutes to midnight or thirteen minutes after five o'clock, it's all the same because there's no agreement as to what a minute means.

The doomsday clock people are no different from those religious talk-radio guys who constantly tell us that their god-o-choice will be returning SOON without ever once telling us how long a SOON is. I remember hearing kids tell me SOON back in the early 70's. That's over 35 years ago. Now then, you wouldn't think that 35 years could colorably be considered SOON, but the end-times practitioners will blithely tell you that:

1. 35 years is nothing and fits well within the parameters of SOON.
2. If we were saying SOON 35 years ago, then now it must be REALLY REALLY REALLY SOON.

Of course, they're just piling meaningless onto meaninglessness by doing that. Or, to put it in mathematical notation. . .

+ 35 years =

The doomsday clock people were saying "two minutes to midnight" in the 1980's, and it was just as meaningless then and now as an end-times radio screamer saying SOON.

Frankly, I have more respect for those wild-eyed fanatics who confidently state that everything will be coming to an end on June 8, 2009 at 3:02 PM CST. At least those people have the nards to put some meaningful units on their predictions. Of course, it makes them WRONG when the alotted end-time passes without an predicted end, but being confident and wrong is better than being vague and weaselly.

It reminds me of an exchange I had with my father in-law a year or so ago. Seemed like every time I visited him, he'd have somesuch new way for his laptop to communicate with the internet wirelessly, be it a WIFI connection or some kind of cellphone-connected gizmo or something else.

But for some reason he felt the need to boast of the new connection's astounding speed. And he did so like this (numbers are approximate).

"You know that old connection I had. It was only like a twenty four speed. But this new internet connection runs at around an eight point three. That's good, isn't it?"

This particular exchange happened two or three times over two or three visits (always with updated numbers) before I pointed out that just saying numbers without attaching units to them was meaningless, and that I had no idea if he was referring to kilobytes-per-second or megabits-per-second or anything else.

He then got angry and said "You know what it means. It's an eight point three!"

I just nodded my head and agreed that "eight point three" is indeed a really really fast connection. Best on the market :)
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Hey thanks for the card codes. I just got my kid some cards. Maybe he'll start a new fad with all the other 12-year-olds. [smile]

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In general, it is widely believed by the computer science community that

24 > 8.3

The proof is in some literature I haven't had time to read yet.

I need some cards too!

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