This is a link to a hilarious, yet super cool, series of photos of storm troopers assembling a full size Christmas tree. Gotta look at them and notice all the details. There are three things, that I have noticed so far, going on outside of just assembling the tree. Do you see them?
Headed out on the town in Pittsburg today? Well, take your gamble and request a ride thru the UberX app – you might just get a free ride! Oh, yeah, one little thing – you’ll be riding with a partially self-driving Ford Fusion. How about that?
You might ask “how is it PARTIALLY self- driving?”. You’ll have a person behind the wheel but the driver is a complex mix of radar, sensors and other gadgets. That person behind the wheel is really there in case it all goes wrong.
So, how does this all fit in with the self-driving market? In this USA Today article self driving cars I like how it describes the market “In the recent weeks, the road to self-driving cars has developed some potholes.” Google, Apple and Tesla are some of the key players in this endeavor – and it is a mighty big one, in my opinion.
My comfort level with a self-driving car is pretty low right now – of course I won’t be buying a Tesla anytime soon or probably not in my lifetime. I can’t even see me riding in a self-driving car of any brand, actually. My GPS isn’t even up to date all the time with continuing construction and those backroads that only the locals know about. So if I’m on a stretch of toll-road 130 headed to San Antonio from Austin and there is that spot where the GPS thinks I’m backroading it and it’s an elevated road then imagine how my self-driving car would do…dive off the toll road without the parachute.
The optimistic and intrigued side of me says that I can’t wait to try it out. Put me in that Ford and let’s see how it does in Pittsburg. If I’m in the city what’s the worst that could happen – run into a building or over a few pedestrians?
Would you ride in a self-driving car?
It was still winter at the farm. The heifers had experienced the first snows of their lives. The first snow was pretty light around Christmas. Not really much to see then. The heifers wondered what it was, actually. They heard the man from the house call it snow – if not for that they really would not have known what to call it. The second snow was a big one! It came up quickly and covered the ground. The flakes were big and flat. There must have been visitors at the farm because several people came to give them treats the day of the big snow that they did not know.
There were also three new additions to the group of girls: Priscilla, Queenie and Rachel. They came to the farm after the second snow of the season. They were very standoffish. These heifers were also about the same size as Ophelia. So they were bigger than most of the girls. After their second day in the pasture, Ophelia took them aside and explained the rules. “Now listen up, ladies. This is the way it works around here. Every day one or more of the people from the big house come down here and give us treats. We like this. So you need to either be friendly and like them or you won’t be stayin’ here long. If you’re thinkin’ you won’t like bein’ friendly I suggest that you stay back from us that DO like it! Are we all on the same page?” Of course, Priscilla, who was the most outgoing of the three, quickly reassured Ophelia of her understanding and cooperation. “Ophelia, I am a bit shy but I will certainly try to overcome that to make the people from the house happy. And wow! We really get treats every day?” Her big brown eyes with the dark lashes twinkled and blinked in amazement at Ophelia. “Yes, we do. And we appreciate them every day!”
The other two heifers were still a bit unconvinced that they could actually trust the people from the house and Rachel voiced their concern in almost whispered, stuttering words “y-you mean y-you want u-us to-to, like, go u-u-up to them? L-l-let them p-pet u-us?” Queenie snorted and huffed as Rachel finished the question. Ophelia was quick to respond “Yes, we do. If you can’t do that then keep your distance from them. Only come up to the group when they are done putting out the treats and we’ve let them pet us and talk to us. Then you can come up and get your treats.” Queenie and Rachel huffed their agreement. Ophelia added “and if you are that scared, then talk to Lydia. She is not sure of the people either and she’s gotten over it so she can get treats first, too.”
The last snow fell but it was really not that much snow and it melted really quickly. The grass and the flowers had started to turn green. They finished off what would probably be their last bale of hay for the season. Then it was time to graze on the green grass of the pasture and laze in the sun in the afternoons.
One afternoon the lady from the house came to the pasture. She held an envelope in her hand. She was smiling a lot, too, and seemed to be more excited than usual. She put out the treats for the day and then she was petting the heifers and talking to them. When she got around to Matilda she gave the heifers the news – which was the cause for her excitement. “Matilda, we entered you in the Cheese Cowgirls competition and you won!! You get to go to California and train to be a Cheese Cowgirl. You’ll be in commercials and even some movies!” The heifers began to huff their excitement – but not too loudly because they didn’t want to scare the lady from the house. Of course, Heidi being the youngest she got a little more excited than the others and actually stood in the trough and voiced her excitement in a loud “MOOOOO!” The lady from the house just laughed and petted her and teased her for standing in the trough. Then the lady told Matilda “they are going to pick you up on Sunday for your trip. We’re all going to miss you! But get your bags packed and enjoy the next two days with the other heifers. We’re so proud of you!” Then the lady went back to the house for the day.
The next day the man from the first pasture and the boy from the house came to visit at treat time. They were saying how exciting it would be for Matilda and how proud they were. Of course, the heifers were gathered around Matilda – they didn’t want to miss one minute away from her before she left. They would chat and huff and then push each other around playing like little calves – though they were bigger now. Sunday the man from the first pasture and his son came to get Matilda. The lady from the house cried when she left the pasture because she knew she wouldn’t see Matilda again – except maybe in the commercials. But the lady seemed happy when she cried. The man from the first pasture and his son loaded Matilda up after all the heifers said their goodbyes and off she went to be a star!
It was day 1 of the Chicken Olympics! The day dawned a bit grey. The clouds held the temperature to a cool 43 degrees and the breath from their beaks formed small tendrils of smoke. The Marion Young team laughed and joked between themselves, with Donny blowing smoke rings in the cold, wet air. Jack ribbed him about being so full of hot air.
On the other side of the track the Northwoods team stoically walked around stretching. Last evening, they went a little overboard at The Coop. Oakley, Cedric, and Mabel were still sick to their stomachs. Maybe they had a bit too much feed last night.
The track was almost humming its excitement and the spirit of the competition gave the air an extra zing of life. You could hear the chuckles and cackles and the occasional crow of the teams and the crowd as they trickled into the stadium.
Over to the south end of the track, you could see the Collegiate team warming up for the first races. The relays were first on the schedule so they were practicing handoffs. Tex, Red, “Frogger” (named for his hopping ability), and Ollie were handing off the multi-colored baton at intervals alongside the track. Their coach, Penny, was yelling encouragement and some words of critique as they moved along.
On the east side of the track, the Stillhouse team moved slowly onto the field. This was their first time to the Olympics. Their faces showed the awe of the moment. Even their coach, Tudor, had a hard time hiding the awe on his face, though he’d been in the business for years. Addy, Rancho, and Bungie were twisting their heads back and forth looking at the stadium, the other competitors, and the growing crowd.
The announcers began to test the audio system. The ground crews were finishing the last of the setup of the equipment on the field. You could hear the rumble of the crowd as they made it past the ticket booths and onto the walkways of the stands. You could smell the hot corn cobs, fried worms, and fresh grass nachos from the concession stands scattered throughout the stadium.
There were 10 teams represented at the Olympics this year. The chickens came from all across the world and represented all breeds of chickens. Countless hours of training and hard work were at stake here. Reputations were to be made or crushed. Records sat waiting to be broken. The papers held the full listing of participants and the records from past Olympics. The press anticipated a sold out day for the sporting events. It was rumored that the biggest chicken farms would be here looking for their next sponsorship target, their latest spokeschicken, and the next big athlete to represent them in the Pro Barn games. The Pro Barn games involved more than just chicken events and were the greatest sporting events of all time in the animal world. They even had a Miss Chicken Olympics contest that evening to crown the next beauty queen for the world of chickens.
To Be Continued…
Last time we saw Frank and Frangelica they were talking after physics class. Their friends Georgia and Corey were busy flirting with each other so they took the time to talk. Frank had hoped that Corey had been talking to Georgia about plans for the weekend so that he might be able to get Frangelica to go out, too.
After Frangelica and Georgia walked off Frank said to Corey “Hey, what were you two talking about? Were you making plans to hang out this weekend?” Corey eyed Frank a bit slyly. “Hmm, I think someone has a crush on the new girl!” Then Corey laughed out loud while Frank blushed just enough to notice. Then he punched Corey in the arm. “Just tell me if you were making plans, dude!” Frank didn’t want to answer any questions about his conversation with Frangelica. Corey then told Frank that he and Georgia had talked about getting a group together at a friend’s house and watching movies on Friday night. “So, Mr. Suave Franky, Georgia is going to see if Frangelica will come. Maybe you want to join the party?” Corey loved to tease Frank. “Heck, yeah, I wanna come to the party! Are you crazy? Besides it’ll be fun to hang out with everybody – we haven’t done something like this in a while. If she makes the party that’s great – just icing on the cake”. Frank tried to sound like it was no big deal to him. But inside he was nervous and wondered if Frangelica would come to the party. Then he wondered what he would do if she did come to the party. What would they talk about? What was he going to wear? Maybe he should get some new jeans or boots to wear. Would they really have anything in common?
Who out there has tried Luminosity? Was it just another game to you or did you truly see results? Well, here is some news:
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Lumos Labs this month agreed to pay the US Fair Trade Commission $2m to settle false marketing allegations against its Lumosity brain-training game. The company had claimed its games helped users perform better at work and could even alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. (Luminosity info)
But what if we could take the billions and billions of dollars spent today on mental health medical treatments and turn them to non-pharmacological treatments? Would you go for it? And what if it could help with dementia? My father has dementia and I do wonder if I am more at risk for it – though the (at least to me) silly peanut butter Alzheimer’s test doesn’t quite convince me.
With Akili Interactive Labs new product, Evo, just about to start the clinical trials I am wondering if this could really be a breakthrough for some mental health disorders. It could be, since Shire and Pfizer have joined in with the Akili team for the Alzheimers aspect.
So, if you have the wonder around familial Alzheimers, dementia, ADHD, or other mental health disorders treatment could be around the corner in the form of an electronic tablet and not one made of drugs…
What do you think?