Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some Thoughts on Veteran's Day

Today we are marking another Veteran's Day (Or, depending on your generation, or location, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day).  96 years ago today, at about the time I post this (at least if you're in the Eastern US), the guns fell silent on what later would become known as The First World War.  Since then it has become a time to recognize those who served in all war--those who came home and those who did not.

My family has been lucky in this regard, members have served in war time and peace time and thankfully all have returned.

This is a picture of my uncle. He was a tank and plane mechanic in World War II, serving in Africa and Italy. Another Uncle served in World War II as well.

This is my dad. He was a quartermaster, in Germany, in the mid-50's It was different kind of war, a Cold War.  We sometimes forget that the soldiers who serve in peace time, or in peaceful places, also keep us safe.

I have other cousins who served in the Vietnam War, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last Year my nephew joined the Marines.  As I said before, our family has been lucky, and I hope we remain so, and welcomed all our soldiers home.

This is a single numbered grave from among the many in the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg. More than 3500 of these graves had been freshly dug when Abraham Lincoln stood here in 1863 and dedicated the grounds to those who "gave the last full measure of devotion."  Let him mark the place for all those who did the same.

To all of them we say "Thank You" of course.  But a bigger thank you would be to make use of the freedoms they gave us and to make sure that no fellow citizen is denied theirs, so that, as Lincoln said (it does come back to him a lot, doesn't it?) "These dead shall not have died in vain." That would really show our gratitude.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

There Ought to be an App for That (part 1)

Welcome to the first installment of "There ought to be an App for that" where we suggest Apps that will make our online experiences both safer and saner.

Our first App is the B S Detectometer, designed primarily to be utilized on Facebook. When activated it will monitor all Facebook Posts, particularly that are shared from other sources.  Upon detecting anything related to political conspiracy theories, strange causes and cures for health problems, or urban legends of all kinds, it will automatically redirect the post to a special filter linked to Snopes.com.  Should the post pass muster with Snopes, it would be declared BS free and appear on the posters wall.  Should the post not pass scrutiny it will auto delete, and Snopes  will provide an alternate post informing all your friends of your gullibility.

A special high level detection will disable for 24 hours anyone sharing posts about tainted Halloween candy, anything at all to do with gerbils, the playing of any recording anywhere backwards, and any post promising financial compensation for the forwarding of said post.

Beta test version for Twitter also available, with special attention to mis-attributed quotes.

And allow me here to pay a long overdue to tribute to the fine folks at Snopes.com, who are like the facepalm of the internet.

Do you have a dream App that you've always wanted to see!  Share it in the comments below.