Starbucks Caramel Drizzle

Caramel Apple Spice

I like coffee.  I like to go have coffee.  My favorite place to go have coffee happens to be Starbucks…usually.  I like the fact that their coffee beans are nice and strong.  It makes the coffee flavor come through in a way that other places don’t.  But, I’m confused.

My favorite drink is a Caramel Mocha.  Except for the time around Christmas when they have peppermint syrup, it is all I get.  Extra hot too…that way, I can sit and sip it.  But it gets made differently.  Just about all the time.  The part I really like is the caramel drizzle on top (like in the picture above).  I eat the whipped cream/caramel mixture and stir a bit into my drink.  But not everywhere puts it on.  And not every barista at my favorite cafe puts it on either.

Does anyone know why this is?  What do I need to do to make sure I get it?  Why the variance?

Image from David Moore via flickr

How the Internet should have Developed or An Idea I’m Proposing

Facebook: The privacy saga continues

Imagine with me.  Imagine a world where all of the “stuff” I share on the internet is under my control.  It is under my control because it “lives” on a server I control.  Either that, or at a hosting provider I pay to host it.  Or even perhaps at a 3rd party hoster.  When I download an application to my mobile (like pintrest, instagram, etc…) instead of being asked to make an account with them, I’d enter a URL to my site and my credentials there.  Then, the stuff I share would end up with that URL.  Pintrest, instagram, facebook, etc… could get a pointer/link to my post at my site, but the actual thing lives there.  Why isn’t this the case?

Currently, there’s no one way to post things online.  The different content management systems (joomla, wordpress, etc…) all have different ways to login and different ways to post the content once you are logged in.  How would the internet have been different if someone had developed a common “web” API where any application, when given the correct credentials, could post to a given URL.  We–the creators of stuff–would then have much more control over our data.

Sure, not everyone can run their own server or want to pay for hosting (or could afford hosting).  I think for those people, 3rd party services would have (or could) spring up.  Each person would have their own home URL where they could post stuff to (think a facebook profile or google plus page).

Anyway, this is an idea I’ve been noodling through.  What do you think?

Image from via flickr

American Culture and the Media

An Electronic Cigarette

Earlier this week, there was a furore in the media when some actors were “caught” smoking electronic cigarettes at the Golden Globe awards.  Senators have also gotten on board.  Their charge?  Well, it is one we heard many years ago when I was a kid:  things like this glamorize smoking and shouldn’t be allowed.  Now, don’t lose me here…I’m not going to rail against smoking (but I don’t smoke and don’t think others should).  This is going to be a “let’s think about” type article.

Let’s take everyone at face value:  when kids see people smoking (or certain ads, etc…) they want to smoke too.  Have I got the argument correct?  Ok.  Super.  Are you with me?  Again…great.

What happens after school shootings, mall shootings, etc…?  The call is for more gun control.  What happens when people suggest that perhaps the violent movies influence the actions of the shooters?  We get articles talking about how violent movies don’t play a role.  But wait.  We’re told that seeing people smoking influences kids to smoke…doesn’t it stand to reason that if that were true that seeing people shoot up others influences them too?  I’m all confused now.  If it happens one place, why isn’t the same thing true in another circumstance.

I think there is more at play here.  I think the truth is somewhere in-between.  And I think that truth reveals a lot about American Culture and the Media.  I think the people pushing to condemn the e-cigarette use but allow violent movies have an agenda.  The fact that they don’t like one but don’t have a problem with the other shows this.  If we are honest, the truth is somewhere in the middle:  no, seeing violence doesn’t make everyone want to shoot up a bunch of people just like seeing people smoke (even fake cigarettes) won’t make everyone smoke.  Yes, some people will be influenced to start.  Yes, others won’t.  If you are honest, I think you’ll agree with me.

So, if that is the case, why push one (banning cigarettes) while wanting to keep another (violent movies)?  I think they have an agenda and that is influencing their positions.  This also shows through in other areas too:  trans-fats, coconut oil, sugary drinks, and others.  All this while pushing for things like legalizing pot, mandating abortion coverage, and others.  Some things are allowed and encouraged while other things are looked to be banned.  And the only reasons is “they” (whoever happens to be in charge at the time) is pushing “their” agenda.

We need to be careful.  The media has, if everyone is honest, it is nothing more than yellow journalism (on both sides).  No one is honest.  The news isn’t reported.  The media narrative of the day is reported from certain perspectives instead of the news.  Our country can be great once again; however, we need to be honest.  Honest with each other.  Demand real news from our news…not commentary.

Image from lindsay fox via flickr

Global Warming / Climate Change

Global Warming

This morning, I read this article in the Daily Mail that is dogging the US because 23% don’t believe in Climate Change (aka Man Made Global Warming).  Here’s a few quotes:

‘The great majority of climate scientists have concluded that global warming is happening, mostly human caused and, if left unchecked, will have serious consequences for human societies and the natural world,’ the report’s authors said.

‘Yet, over the years, there has been considerable confusion within the American public about the level of scientific agreement on the subject.’

The study, conducted in November, found About two in three Americans (63%) believe global warming is happening.

‘Relatively few – only 23 percent – believe it is not,’ they said.

‘The proportion who believe global warming is real has remained steady since Spring 2013.

‘However, the proportion who do not believe global warming is happening has increased 7 percentage points since Spring 2013.

‘The proportion of Americans who say they ‘don’t know’ whether or not global warming is happening has dropped 6 points – from 20 to 14 – since Spring of 2013.

The researchers also say Americans believe that even if it exists, global warming is not their problem.

One can hear the tone of the article:  we all know this is happening but these stupid American’s just won’t believe.  Look at them…how stupid are they.

I think most people would consider me a “climate change denier” and one of the 23%; however, that is not the case.  Is the climate changing?  Perhaps or perhaps not.  I don’t really know and don’t think there is enough evidence to say either (records go back to the 1800s).  I believe the earth is about 6,000 years old and records for–let’s be generous–300 years mean we only know for sure what has happened for 5% of the time.  If you believe in Darwin’s monkeys to man evolution, percentage wise, you know even less.

Even if the climate is changing, we don’t know enough to know if it is naturally cyclical or not.  We can’t say whether any change we see puts us at the top of a warming cycle only to cool back down.  Perhaps we’ve got another 20 degrees to go before we start.  Or, perhaps–since there has been no warming in the past 15 years–we are getting ready to head back down.  The point is we don’t know.

The global warmers can’t even get their story straight.  Remember the polar vortex?  In 2013, Time Magazine blamed it on Global Warming.  Did you know that in 1974, they blamed the exact same thing–the vortex–on global cooling?  Which is it?  Global Cooling?  Global Warming?

Given the fact we don’t know, I–as an American–refuse to believe that I am the problem.  Even if the earth is warming.  Even if humans are responsible.  Why?  Have you seen pictures of the air in Beijing China?  The air there is so stinking polluted they have a name for it:  airpocalypse.  What about India where the Ganges is also way way polluted?  If anyone needs to worry about reducing pollution, it is them…not me and the US.

The US doesn’t have a great record either.  In 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught on fire it was so polluted.  I’m sure there are many more examples; however, since then, we’ve cleaned things up.

In conclusion, I don’t think we know enough to say for certain that the earth is warming or not.  The climate changers–just today’s code word for the 1980s global warmers–can’t even get their story straight (they can’t even make their data work without faking it).  But even if it is happening as they claim, they come across as attacking the west and America.  The problem isn’t with us…it is with China, India, and the rest of the developing world who pollute way more than we do.

Image from mark sardella via flickr

Jungle Gold on Discovery

Gold mine

Last year, I watched the Hoffmans on their Gold Rush show for the first time.  I binge-watched it on Netflix then caught up on TV.  I thought they were a bunch of morons and I could do better; however, apart from Todd, they’ve improved alot.

When I saw an advert–also last year–for Jungle Gold, I thought I would watch it.  The season ended with the guys getting robbed of some big hunk of gold they just did a black market deal for.  I wondered if it were fake.  Now, I have no doubts.

This season, Scott and George went back to Ghana.  They were getting off to a rocky start then they conveniently left town.  They had borrowed money from relatives three times.  They just signed a lease for two new excavators and a loader AND got access for 30 days to a killer trommel.  But then they find out they don’t have the right permits to actually mine.  AND it is going to take 30 days to get the permits.

About the same time, there is an “attack” on a neighboring claim (probably true).  They go back to their “base” where they find out that some minister has called for their arrest.  After telling the viewers they expected the embassy to come get them with HMMWVs and helicopter (sorry to burst a bubble, but that only happens to embassy personnel).  The embassy tells them to leave if they are worried so they start this scheme to leave.  Anyway, here’s what clenched it for me:

  1. When they get to their hotel, the security guy goes and checks in.  But they find out that there is a government conference at the hotel.  They sneak everyone else into the hotel through an emergency exit, but you can see the security guys around to provide cover while they film this.
  2. They don’t take a commercial flight out, but they go to the airport and check in for their charter flight at what appears to be a normal airport check-in desk.  They then go through the airport and immigration like everyone else.  They then leave from a normal gate at the airport.
  3. Oh, and while all of this futzing is going on, you can see official people escort them through the airport.

These guys could have been in actual danger out in the bush.  I’m sure it is wild-west-like out there.  But if there really was a warrant out for their arrest, they never would have been allowed to leave.  The security guards at the hotel and the escort through the airport were just too much.  I could have believed they were leaving independent of that.  But as a whole, it is way too convenient.

Really??  You just get a 3rd round of funding from family, lease a ton of NEW equipment, and be in for a $250,000 trommel; however, when you find out that you can’t mine legally suddenly there is a warrant out for your arrest and you have to sneak out of the country?  really?  Oh, and what ever made you think that a 3rd rate country would let you leave with millions of dollars of gold in the first place?  Honestly…go to Alaska to do that….a 3rd world country that is probably corrupt won’t ever let you leave with their wealth.

They did a rededit ama (ask me anything) here:

Image from howvin via flickr