Wednesday 15 May 2013

QUANTIFIABLE RESULTS: Too much or too little?

The feds want the National Research Council overhauled and refocused. They want to leverage the NRC’s world-class resources (Globe&Mail, 7 May).  Say what? Can someone please translate that into English for me? Oh. They want more bang for their buck. They want quantifiable results. Preferably before the next election.

Okay. But as far as I’m concerned, I don’t need exact numbers.  Just tell me: Is it too much or not enough? For example:

Obesity: Not enough apparently. In 1998 the US National Institute of Health lowered the cut-off for a healthy body weight index from 27.8 to 25. Tweaking the numbers added 3 Million people to the ranks of the obese and 3 Million potential customers to the lists of the obesity industry. Bring on the lap bands! Get out the liposuction machines!

Gmails: Too many. But with Google’s Inactive Account Manager, you now have the option of leaving your old gmails and YouTube videos to your children! Great, don’t you think? A regular treasure trove for your heirs!

Working from home: Not enough (company, that is). That’s why people join co-working facilities (formerly known as “The office” and paid for by the employer). Now you pay for it, but it’s also a lot more fun than the old cubicles.  According to the NY Times (12 May) this new workplace is gamified and reflects today’s cafĂ© culture. Okay. As long as Starbucks doesn’t catch on to the trend and starts charging customers a fee for using its co-breathing facility.

Tragedies: Not enough. At least for Nancy Grace of Headline News. But finally it all came together for her in one fell swoop. The Seymour Ave kidnapping story and the Jodi Arias murder trial peaked on the same day. Whoo-hoo!

Traffic: Too much, but all that’s needed here is positive thinking. Say you are stuck in traffic on a highway in Florida. Suddenly a giant sink hole opens up in front of you. Now take a deep breath, think positive and say to yourself: Hey, finally we are moving.

Guns: Not enough. That’s why law student and crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson developed Liberator, a gun suitable for 3D printing. Thousands of people have visited his website, Defense Distributed. Most of his customers are from Spain, according to Metro (8 May). What’s going on over there? Have they changed the rules of bull fighting?

Brains: Not enough. But cheer up. The scientists are working on it. It won’t be long and you’ll be able to use your brain as a joy stick to control robots, surf the web, and change TV channels. Unfortunately, the technology to make war using just your brainwaves is still in the future, says Dr. Donoghue (NY Times, 5 May). Okay. So you can’t blast evil space invaders with a thought-controlled drone YET. But in the meantime, NeuroSky lets you control toy helicopters.

Okay, that’s nice. I’ll keep it in mind for the long weekend. But right now I urgently need brain waves to control the brain waves of Cody Wilson.

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