Tag Archives: Google

Occupational Hazards

Good morning Everyone!

Do you remember all the news reports from a year or so ago that the National Security Agency was “mining” everything Americans write or post online in their quest to prevent terrorism?  Whether it’s true or false, I have always maintained that the banality of my e-mails, cell phones and online messages (with the exception of this blog, of course!) was more than enough to punish any governmental official who is attempting to comb them for information.

When you watch one of the many shows on TV these days that show real life murder investigations, don’t you want to scream at the perpetrator for being stupid when one of the ways he or she gets caught is because he or she googled “how to murder my _______ without getting caught” in formulating their plans on their home computer?  I mean, really!  That’s almost as clueless as was the Wicca-adherent-gone-mad out West who listed the phone number of the man she killed under the label “sacrifice” on her cell phone!  (Yes, that is a true story, by the way.)

I am working on my second mystery novel.  The first, currently called Sleight of Hand  is finished but needs more editing.  Because my plot requires a victim to be murdered by arsenic, I needed to find out where you could get arsenic, how it is used, how it is detected and what it does to its victims and how soon.  I also needed to learn whether there are any medications which are powders taken before meals.  and what kinds of crops are grown in North Dakota.  (Curiouser and curiouser, yes?)  So what do I turn to?  Google!  (Which, of course, led me swiftly to the information I need.)

With queries in my cache now like “how to murder using arsenic” and “where to get arsenic” I now am praying that no one in my household gets even a stomach virus for the next twenty years and am considering hiring a taster for more insurance!  I can just see the conversation now – “Well you see, officer, it’s like this….”  I at least hope that my searches provided a rare flash of interest to the poor NSA employee in charge of mining my data.

Maybe all those people on Investigation Discovery were innocent after all!

Have a great day!


High School Career Day Left A Lot To Be Desired

Good morning Everyone!

I find it is easier sometimes to access WordPress through Google Chrome, and as I was getting ready to sign in this morning, I looked at the latest product from the Google Doodlers, and realized that “Google Doodler” was not on the list of possible careers when I attended career day during high school.

Of course, neither Google, nor personal computers were invented when I graduated from high school, which might explain the absence.  However, other exciting career choices didn’t make the list, either.

Sunset over Key West

One example is travel show host.  If they had told me in high school that I could travel to lots of exotic and exciting places, take cruises, make regular trips to Disney World, tell people about it on TV and get paid for it, my career choices might have been very different.

I would have liked to know more about jobs like “Alaskan State Trooper.”  I probably wouldn’t have taken that route, but the show is pretty fascinating.  My husband wishes that he had known about jobs such as Alaskan bush pilot (I think that’s the right phrase).  He probably would have taken any job that allowed him to fly for a living in a sea plane between small towns, even if it meant living in the Arctic.  (And given the way Mark hates cold, that’s saying something!)   If he had known you could do it in tropical islands and make a living, we would be living somewhere like Tahiti now.

From Print Shop Professional 2.o

RV park inspector is another job that didn’t make the list.  As near as I can fathom the requirements of this job, an RV park inspector rides from RV park to RV park in some type of recreational vehicle, either a motor home or a trailer, and rates the park on given specifications either for the campground chain’s purposes or for publication in a campground guide.  We would be quite good at that.

Working at a local marina might be fun (I have to confess I didn’t know what a marina was until after high school; I knew what a port was, but didn’t have a conception of a marina – the casualty of a Navy family life geared to the ocean).

I did flirt with the idea of marine biologist, available on career day, but let the idea slide due to the fact that I didn’t think I could pay for graduate school (but then Mark and I ended up paying for me to go to law school at night!  Go figure.)

Writing has always been high on my list, and “writer” was a possible career discussed on career day, but the descriptions always included terms equivalent to “starving artist” which placed the job at a decided disadvantage.  It took me seven years after graduating law school to realize that I was writing for a living – granted, I was writing briefs for judges and lawyers to read, but I was writing.  “Starving artist” is not a term associated with what I do.  I also get to write this blog, which helps to stave off, even if it doesn’t completely satisfy, the creative writing urge in me.  I couldn’t make a living with the blog, but I certainly do enjoy writing it.

“Artist” wasn’t even a remote possibility, as I had no idea until two years ago that I had any modicum of artistic talent whatever.

There is always a bright side, of course, even to notable gaps in career day in high school and career choices by adults.  In my case, it is all the possibilities left for me as I decide what I want to be when I grow up!  At this rate, I expect I will be fully grown up when I reach the age of, oh, 90 or so.

Have a great day everyone!


P.S.  Thank all of you for your kind words and prayers regarding the death of my grandfather.  I appreciate them.

Inventions I Eagerly Await (Or Not) – Update

Good morning everyone!

At the risk of being labeled a hopeless nerd (I can’t, unfortunately, qualify for geek because my technological level of expertise falls terribly short), I will confess that one of the magazines that I get on my Kindle is Technology Review, which is published by MIT every other month.  It covers technology breakthroughs, and by technology they are not limiting themselves to computers and cell phones, but include breakthroughs in medicine, energy, genetics, automobiles, physics, chemistry and anything else you can think of.  They also manage to present material in a way that a layperson can, for the most part, understand.  One section deals with new inventions, which may not be ready for mass production yet, but at least are up and running with prototypes.

Gadgets Galore!

In steadily working my way through June’s publication, I came across two inventions, one bewildering, one encouraging.

The Withings WIFI scale

We will start with bewildering first.  A company called Withings, whose website is located at www.withings.com, has invented a scale with WiFi capability.  That’s right, this scale will kindly, if you tell it to, post your weight, fat mass and body mass index on your Twitter or Facebook account for you.  To be quite frank, the very last place I wish to share that kind of information about me is on Twitter or Facebook!   Why you would even think that someone would want to do so is beyond me.

To be fair to Withings, the scale will, if you choose, discreetly post such information to more private places, like your smart phone or computer, where only you can see it; I can see some value in that.  Even better, if my doctor’s office would purchase such a scale and link it to my records electronically, I could go to the doctor without ever having to see what my weight is!  (I mean, face it folks, most of us know whether we need to lose weight or not; do we really wish to be constantly reminded every time we need to see the doctor for something like strep throat?)

One of Google's seven self-driving cars

The more encouraging invention is Google’s fleet of seven cars that it has equipped to be able to drive themselves.  It consists of six Toyota Prius’s and one Audi TT.  Some of you may recall that the self driving car is one of the inventions I am eagerly awaiting. ( See, Inventions I Eagerly Await.)  Google has at least managed to create prototypes, although currently they are nowhere near ready for mass production and still require a driver to be able to override the computer system in case it gets confused.  Still, Google has come a long way with these cars.  They have equipped them with video cameras, radar, laser sensors (and of course, Google’s navigation system) so that the computer guiding the car will have a 360 degree view of the road, and be able to orient itself to the direction it is traveling and figure out where it wants to go.  In over 140,000 miles of trials (I think – it may be more now), the cars have had only one accident – and that was when one of them was rear-ended by another car.  In those 140,000 miles, they did require minimum driver intervention once or twice, but at least we are getting closer.  I will watch the evolution of this invention closely so that as soon as they are available and affordable, I can own one.

There is, alas, no word out there regarding the driving vacuum cleaner.  See, Differences Between Men and Women.


Have a great day everyone!