Category Archives: Interesting

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Dialogue in the Dark — NYC

This was an exhibit I’d seen a little over a year

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ago back in Holon at the Israeli Children’s Museum (Link is in English)

Now while reading the local paper here today, I find out that a similar exhibit is opening downtown at the South Street Seaport: Dialogue in the Dark

It’s definitely worth visiting! I can’t praise it highly enough!

A new blog to read

Meet Liquid Encouragement

The author describes it as:

Welcome to Liquid Encouragement, a blog devoted to alcohol, drinking and the world/history of the greatest liquid created by mankind. There is no true form to the content that will appear in this blog. It might be a recipe one day, an interview with a local bartender the next, and an in depth analysis of the history of a spirit the day after. The beauty of the world of alcohol is

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that there are many components associated with it in various capacities. Contrary to the norm, it’s not just about how to make a martini. I’m much more interested in who is making the martini, who is ordering the martini, what alcohol they decide to use, where that alcohol came from and how the martini came into existence. This blog is my opportunity to explore the “who, what, where, when, why and how” of alcohol and expose to many unique people and factors that make this industry one of the most fascinating throughout the globe.

Now, while I don’t drink nor really like the taste of alcohol this blog is a definite must read. If anything, it enables one to extend their intellectual horizons.

It turns out I know the author of the blog well, and can definitely vouch for this person, their interest and enthusiasm for the subject matter and their overall “awesomeness”.

So be sure to visit/bookmark: Liquid Encouragement at:
(A domain name should be coming soon I’m told)

A pleasant experience at the DMV

Off work today for “Christmas eve” I just went to renew my Drivers License at the DMV. It was simple and fast!

Fast, ease and simplicity are usually oxymoron when it comes to

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thing was done in less than 5 minutes! Amazing! Heck it was more difficult navigating through the masses on 34th Street (near Herald Square) than it was at the DMV!


Sojourn to Brooklyn

Yesterday I spent SHabbos in Borough Park for the aufruf of The Curious Jew’s chassan who we

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shall refer to here as “Hobbes”.

It was quite eye opening and overwhelming (both in a good way) to say the least.

More to follow….

The face behind the voice

NYT: Announcing the Subway Announcement Lady

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is the man behind the other automated announcements?

Meetings: compare and contrast

Today I had a teleconference with some computer programmers about a project we’re looking to undertake. The meeting was rather short, very to the point and overall highly efficient.

Contrast that to some meetings I’ve sat through in the past with non-tech types. Much longer, more verbose, often still efficient (but not as efficient.

Is it a mentality thing? People who work with computers are more predisposed to view things in a pre-set way?

My near “mugging”

This morning at some time between 7 and 7:30, the brother and I were making our way to the subway, to go on my weekly grocery trip.

We were on East 86th, headed towards Lexington, and there were few people outside. My brother walked ahead of me (as one of his goals for the weekend was to lead and show direction). We noticed a man, looking a bit disheveled and unkempt (scruffy uneven beard an all). Perhaps a stereotypical EDP/SED. Paying him not much mind, we continue on our way. You could tell based on the man’s appearance and the look on his face that something wasn’t right with him.

In my hand is a plastic reusable Trader Joe’s shopping bag (which contains 3 other reusable bags) that I plan on utilizing at the stores.

After we walk past the gentleman, all of the sudden, I feel this sharp “tug” pulling me in the direction opposite that which I was traveling.

The man from the sidewalk had grabbed my bag handles and was trying to take my bags. Instantly, my right hand, holding the bags, developed a vice-like grip. I turned to the man, and yelled “what the hell”, piercing the silence of the morning. The man and I made eye contact, and I had an intense “don’t mess with me” look on my face. This man, who now crossed the line in my book to thief, simply stared at me. His hands dssaperead from my bags.

Up a few feet ahead, The Brother, who is always anxious, had a concerned look on his face. Not only was he startled by the scene he saw, he also knows that it’s extremely rare for me to yell like i did.

The look in the man’s eyes was that between someone who was both confused and possessed. I’m not sure if he was fully cognizant of what he was doing. After re-gripping my bag, to leave no slack in the handle, The Brother and I went on our way. The Brother asked “what happened” and before I explained, I look back to see the man wandering aimlessly about the sidewalk.

Throughout the rest of today this morning’s incident has been bothering me on multiple levels. Some of these thoughts were instantaneous others have formulated over the course of the day.

Of course I’ve been asking “what-if.what could have been ” questions but these are some of the more solid ones.

The first is a sense of trouble that such a thing could happen in the first place. The area in which I live is usually rather tranquil, and the most common crimes seem to occur from intoxication at one of the many nearby bars. It’s a “sleepy’ area in that sense, as the area is a mix of young people and families. When The Brother and The Sister and I went back to the subway later in the morning, I noticed the man sitting in the ATM vestibule near where he had accosted me. I pointed him out ot The Sister, and The Brother verified my identification. To think that he was still in the area, and in an ATM lobby no less. That’s a bit spooky.

The second thing that’s perturbed me is that something could have happened to my Brother. While I’m glad nothing happened to him directly (maybe a little scare), I do feel a sense of pride that I was able to keep him out of harms way. Perhaps pride is not the right word–relief may be more appropriate.

Third, I wondered immediately afterward weather simply yelling at the guy was enough. Of course the idea ran through my head that maybe a physical message could have been delivered–but I think that would have ultimately been counter productive. Since the man “dropped” things when I yelled, there was and shouldn’t have been any need to escalate things further.

Fourth, sort of following on the previous thought, there probably was no need to get the police or 311 involved. It’s not worth their time or my time to file a report. Nor do I think they’d be able to do anything with the mystery man. I don’t think they’d have the authority to get the man some mental-health help (without him voluntarily going).

Fifth, as the day has progressed, and I think about this morning’s episode more, I’m only left to wonder–what if this altercation was the man’s way of seeking help. The man never spoke or made any verbalization. That look I saw in his eyes seemed to really reveal that he was a troubled individual. His physical appearance in and of itself provided ample evidence to that diagnosis; but the look in his eyes, showed something much deeper. He really seemed to be a confused man. His lack of speech, empathy or visible emotion as well spoke louder than any words would have.

I’m left to wonder–was this man possibly not seeking my belongings, but seeking help for his troubles? What troubles me is the curiosity–what could I have done to help this man? Why me of all people? Was this some sort of test, like the parables I was taught in Day School about interactions with a stranger? How was I supposed to respond?

I’m at a bit of a loss in all this. Ultimately though, I’m simply happy that my brother and I are both safe and no one got hurt in the process.

Correlation does not equal causation

Here’s a story the anti-vaccine crowd is sure to jump on:

“Finland Suspends H1N1 Vaccine

The Finnish National Institute for Health (THL) proposed suspending vaccinations for H1N1 swine flu, due to suspected links to increased narcolepsy in children and adolescents, the body announced this week.

Six cases of narcolepsy, a chronic disorder causing excessive daytime sleepiness and extreme fatigue, have been reported after patients had been receiving the Pandemrix vaccine.

Six cases of narcolepsy is consistent with annual averages, reports THL, but all of these patients were affected after being vaccinated, and there are nine additional cases that have not yet been confirmed.

Now since this is a mainstream media article versus a scientific publication, there are some questions that definitely need to be answered.

Was the diagnosis of Narcolepsy made by combination of history plus multiple sleep latency test?

Were any of

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said patients displaying any symptoms preceeding vaccination?

Did these individuals have either lumbar punctures or blood tests performed to detect the HLA-DQB1*0602.marker?
[This while not a diagnostic tool per say would however provide interesting immunological evidence]

What makes this all interesting, is that increasing research seems to be pointing towards Narcolepsy having an auto-immune origin in the body. In the simplest terms, individuals with narcolepsy commonly lack hypocretin/orexin [hcrt/ox] producing neurons. The lack of hcrt leads to a disruption in the normal neuro-chemical functioning of the brain which leads to the symptoms of the disorder. [A discussion of which is beyond the scope of this blog–however I can provide references]

A digital Rosetta Stone

Computers to translate world’s ‘lost’ languages after program deciphers ancient text


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Day at the Met

Went to the Met today…just because I’d not done so in way too long (and because I wanted to!)

I was deligted to find out that when I arrived at the museum there is a special exhibit right now on [the] “Art of the Samurai

It was awesome! The blades on display from the samurai swords were simply breathtaking in their craftsmanship. The suits of armor were also impressive too!

The second treat that awaited me was a special exhibition of a painter whom I did a huge project on in 8th grade: Diego Velazquez.

Again–to see these works in person was a huge reward for me. Then I got to take in some other works of art of course–as it’s an amazing collection on display.

My only regret is that the Islamic Art wing is still closed for renovation–as I’m curious to see what that collection looks like!