Aug 152014
 

CGP Grey has posted a 15 minute video which gives an excellent overview of current and future automation, and the potentially brutal disruption it will have to on our societies. Technological Unemployment is not a new concept, but the prospect of blue and white collar worker replacement is becoming more real:

The Economist also has a good take on the topic as well: The onrushing wave – Previous technological innovation has always delivered more long-run employment, not less. But things can change..

… technical change is increasingly taking the form of “capital that effectively substitutes for labour”. There may be a lot more for such capital to do in the near future. A 2013 paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, of the University of Oxford, argued that jobs are at high risk of being automated in 47% of the occupational categories into which work is customarily sorted. That includes accountancy, legal work, technical writing and a lot of other white-collar occupations.

Answering the question of whether such automation could lead to prolonged pain for workers means taking a close look at past experience, theory and technological trends. The picture suggested by this evidence is a complex one. It is also more worrying than many economists and politicians have been prepared to admit.

Jun 122014
 

We hadn’t planned the timing of our visit to Monument Valley, but it turned out to be a perfect day. As the sun went down the valley turned a gentle pink and the full moon rose between the two mittens. The moon rise perfectly matched the sunset colors and we were treated to one of the best evening views imaginable.

Long shadows on the mittens Monument Valley sunset and moon rise between the West and East mittens

We relaxed, watched the stars, and then got up early to watch the sunrise. The sunrise was beautiful as well, and cast a different light on everything. After a quick breakfast we ventured out with a Navajo guide around the valley floor. Along the way we heard stories about the different areas, heard our guide play the flute, and saw unique sights like the Eye of the Sun petroglyph wall. I was worried it would all be a bit clichéd given the number of visitors, but it was genuine and memorable.

Sunrise over Monument Valley Cowboy photo op and Monument Valley's Three Sisters Monument Valley arch - Ear of the Wind

After exploring the valley some more we headed back to Page, AZ and signed up for one of the Antelope Canyon tours. The canyon is one of the most famous examples of a slot canyon and has been photographed countless times. The canyon is on Navajo land and as such we had a Navajo guide for our tour. The tour started with a back breaking ride through a dry creek bed to reach the entrance of the canyon, thankfully only a 15 minute drive or so. We were lucky to be the only group at that time in the canyon (it can be packed full of photographers) and were able to take our time to explore the beautiful bends and shapes.

Looking up through Antelope Canyon Antelope Canyon Horseshoe Bend

After exploring Antelope Canyon, we visited Horseshoe Bend and continued our way home via Sedona, AZ. The full photo albums for Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon can be found here:

Photos of Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon – chrisnelson.ca
Photos of Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon – flickr.com

As part of our road trip around the southwest we visited Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park.

Jan 292012
 

Apple has been in the news a lot lately, mostly reactions from the NYT report on factory working conditions. Some of those facts have been disputed by a BSR open letter. But it still leaves the conclusion that more can be done. Of course there are those that argue that this is simply all part of the economic revolution all developed nations go through and that all things being equal, this is a far better path for them. Personally I think Apple is slightly better than most of the other companies dealing with China (e.g. Dell, HP) and working with the same factories, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t improvement for line shifts and hour caps to reduce repetitive strain injuries.

I’ve been working through my backlog of podcasts while doing some work around the house. I listened to one yesterday which made me pause. So often the labor conditions discussions don’t really hit home. Mike Daisey’s monologue featured on This American Life changed that for me and gave the facts a human face. Though some of the things he mentions are out of date (his visit to China was in 2010), the majority of it is valid and visceral.

A lifelong Apple superfan, Daisey sees some photos online from the inside of a factory that makes iPhones, starts to wonder about the people working there, and flies to China to meet them.

Jun 202010
 


jellyfish yukon Photos of pelagic invertebrates at the Yukon

Last weekend I did two dives on the Yukon with Pete, Paul, and Matt. I wasn’t expecting much, as the water can be green and brown this time of year. We were amazed by the water quality on the first dive. Though snowy, the water was very blue – it was like diving miles off shore.

The other thing that was very different was the amount of open water (pelagic) critters that were near the Yukon. You usually have to be miles off shore to see the types of invertebrates we saw on the wreck – salps and salp chains, fried egg jellyfish, and comb jellies. It was very interesting to see them all drift by, watching their mostly clear bodies feeding on phytoplankton.

It is amazing how much the ocean can change in an hour. The second dive was still good, but the water had turned from a deep ocean blue to a green hue. There were still a number of salps hanging around in the water column, but they were getting picked apart by blacksmith schools.

Jun 192010
 


avalon dive park avalon dive park avalon dive park avalon dive park
Photos of Avalon’s Underwater Dive Park

Adam, Paul, Pete and I took the Dana Point ferry over to Avalon for a day of diving. It started overcast and turned into a lovely sunny day. I need to take more Fridays off. Adam joined the club and picked up a Stanley 24gal tub for transporting gear aka dive box on wheels. Pete and Paul tried out their new DSS backplates. We are starting to look like a scuba gang from the 50’s – same box, same dry suit, same backplates. Hmmm. We need some sort of snap dance to intimidate other gangs.