If you’re reading this right now, disassociated has just ticked through a rather pivotal milestone – well I think so anyway – and given the… significance of the moment I’m taking the next four days off. Actually that’s more on account of the Easter long weekend, but regardless, I’ll be back on Tuesday to say more about it.
Certain fine dining establishments are taking customer service, and attention to detail, to a new level. Having taken a booking, staff then turn to search engines to see what they can learn about their customers, all in the name of personalising, or enhancing, the dining experience:
If, for example, Roller discovers it’s a couple’s anniversary, he’ll then try to figure out which anniversary. If it’s a birthday, he’ll welcome a guest, as they walk in the door, with a “Happy Birthday.” (Or, if it seems to Roller that a guest prefers to keep a low profile, “I’ll let them introduce themselves to me,” he says.) Even small details are useful: “If I find out a guest is from Montana, and I know we have a server from there, we’ll put them together.” Same goes for guests who own jazz clubs, who can be paired with a sommelier that happens to be into jazz. In other words, before customers even step through the door, the restaurant’s staff has a pretty good idea of the things it can do to specifically blow their minds.
Sifting through data collected by online dating, or matchmaking sites, appears to pour cold water on the notion that opposites ultimately attract. To be sure, opposites do attract, but eventually opposites… attack, or repel.
The data reveals a clear pattern: People are interested in people like themselves. Women on eHarmony favor men who are similar not just in obvious ways – age, attractiveness, education, income – but also in less apparent ones, such as creativity. Even when eHarmony includes a quirky data point – like how many pictures are included in a user’s profile – women are more likely to message men similar to themselves. In fact, of the 102 traits in the data set, there was not one for which women were more likely to contact men with opposite traits.
When playing the dating game it seems you’re effectively looking for yourself to date. If you take my meaning. See you tonight then?
E-cigarettes are not cigarettes. As the name suggests, they simulate smoking and, via an inner heating element, deliver nicotine through the vapor of liquid nicotine instead of the combustion of tobacco leaves. That’s why e-cigarettes are often promoted as a safer alternative to smoking. But the public-health debate is in full bloom. Trace amounts of toxic substances have been detected in e-cigarettes, and their usage among youth doubled in 2012. Yet many cite the devices as remedies that can stop their decades-long tobacco-smoking habits.
I did see someone… puffing on an e-cig in a cafe a few weeks ago. While it seemed he couldn’t decide if he was pretending to smoke, or posing – I imagine he felt mildly self conscious “smoking” in a public enclosed space – the word is e-cigs can help those who are trying to give up smoking. That can’t be a bad thing.
In a futuristic, post apocalyptic Chicago, where people fall into one of five factions based on their ethics, or not, a 16 year old girl, Tris (Shailene Woodley), discovers she is in a class of her own, in Divergent, trailer, the latest feature by Neil Burger (“The Illusionist”, “Limitless”). Needless to say, such individuality does not sit well in this world.
Despite her turmoil, Tris joins the Dauntless faction, the gung-ho group tasked with protecting the city from outside threats. While she struggles to make the grade at first, she soon befriends her instructor, Four (Theo James), who has uncovered a plot, masterminded by a faction led by Jeanine (Kate Winslet), to overthrow the city’s government.
Based on the novel of the same name written by Veronica Roth, “Divergent” is the first in a number of films set in Tris’ world, and that may account for its slow start. Aside from some sound performances, especially Woodley’s, there are few surprises story wise, meaning there’s really not much here for those who are not fans of the book series.
Because I enjoy this type of conjecture and know you do as well. You’re sending humans on a multi-generational, two thousand year long, voyage to colonise a habitable planet in a distant star system. How many people do you place on the vessel?
That would make for a pretty big ship, unless you sent a fleet (fewer eggs in the same basket as it were), but whatever way it is looked at, setting up a human colony outside the solar system would be, or is going to be, a huge undertaking.
The nearest star systems – such as our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light-years from home – are so far that reaching them would require a generational starship. Entire generations of people would be born, live, and die before the ship reached its destination. This brings up the question of how many people you need to send on a hypothetical interstellar mission to sustain sufficient genetic diversity.