Vin Crosbie's Personal Blog

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25 July 2016

Late July and early August are slow times for me. My consulting practices slows down as clients in the northern hemisphere go on holiday plus I’m on summer holiday from teaching my New Media Business course at Syracuse University’s graduate school (although I annually during August update its eight-year old syllabus for the latest changes and developments in media business).  So, in my spare time, I’m doing cooking and drinking (no, not that type of drinking!)

I mention new media, which is all technology-based, and cooking because even the later subject is being changed by technology. I’m not talking about molecular cooking or other esoteric cuisines, but about even such things as simple as outdoor grilling.  Consider the robotic BratWurst Bot, presented at the Stallwächter Party 2016 summer political festival in Berlin where it perfectly cooked more than 200 sausages autonomously. People grilling meats outdoors is neolithic, which you might says means somewhat traditional. On a nice, sunny, summer day, however, I wouldn’t mind having one of these contraption—provided it came with an option that also automatically serves German beers!

While on the subject of drinking, the BBC has collected nine famous drinking quotes from Ernest Hemingway.

Beans, I say. This past weekend, The New York Times published an excellent guide to cooking beans.

By the way, if you get a chance, check out how Humanitas, a retirement home in Deventer, the Netherlands, provides the elderly with the care and social interaction that they need to remain physically and psychologically healthy, by providing free lodging in the retirement home for six students who spend at least 30 hours a month with the 160 elderly residents living there, helping the elderly whether prepare their meals, shopping with them, or teaching them to use computers or even paint street art! Great video about it at this website.

Am listening today, via YouTube, to ElectroHouseBangers‘ 



Bucolic Connecticut

Weir Farm Historic Site

My native state of Connecticut lacks high mountains and grand canyons, but its scenic wealth is its lush and gently rolling forests and small farms. That is what attracted most of the American Impressionist landscape painters to it a century ago. The tiny state has been one national park, the Weir Farm National Historic Site in the town of Wilton. It’s the 60-acre former home of artist J. Alden Weir (1852-1919), formerly of New York City, who owned homes here and 90 miles (145 km) east across Connecticut in my native town of Windham. Other late 19th Century and early 20th Century American Impressionists, such as  Childe Hassam, Albert Pinkham Ryder, John Singer Sargent, and John Twachtman, also visited Weir and painted here. Weir’s landscapes hang in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and many other museums. My sister-in-law and I’m are fortunate to have inherited two Weir landscapes, one of which the artist apparently gave to my great-grandfather a century ago. Earlier this month while visiting Weir Farm, about 45 minutes from where I now live in Connecticut, I decided to ‘channel’ Weir’s vision through my digital single-lense reflex camera.

Where The Sun Doesn’t Rise In The East Nor Set In the West


Propagandists frequently fool people by focusing them on a point of data that doesn’t represent the whole of the data and claiming that this exceptional point of represent the whole of the data.

The graphic at left is an example. The graphic states that the state of Vermont, which does not require the licensing of its citizens’ firearms, has the third-lowest crime rate in the United States.

That statement is largely true: Vermont does not require the licensing of its citizen’s firearms. And Vermont has a low crime rate compared to the other 49 U.S. states (for example, it had the 15th lowest gun homicide rate during 2013).

The graphic attempts to convince people that not requiring permits or licenses to own firearms—in other words, looser laws about gun control—results in fewer crimes. It infers that looser gun laws anywhere equal less crimes of any kind.

The rural state of Vermont (largest city: 42,417 people; second largest city: 17,904 people) does indeed have a low crime rate. However, the whole data about crime in the U.S.—in other words, the data for all 50 U.S. states—shows the opposite correlation between gun laws and crime. That data shows that Vermont is a rare exception to what’s overall true.

The table below list each U.S. state, it’s rate of gun-related deaths, and how strict (blue) or loose (grey) its gun laws are. This overall data shows a direct correlation—more strict gun control laws equal less gun-related deaths and safer citizens. (For another example of such overall data, see Harvard University’s conclusions about multiple scientific studies by it and other universities that study public health and crime—neutral studies that weren’t funded by either the gun lobby or by anti-gun advocates.)

It’s easy for propagandists to cherry-pick an outlying data point—something that is actually an exception to the overall rule (such the low crime rate in Vermont, an exceptionally rural and sparsely populated state)—from which they will then attempt to infer a false conclusion. Such propaganda will probably fool people who don’t think to look at the overall data or who simply want the false overall conclusion to be true.

Such exceptions can be found in almost any set of data, even data in which most people would never expect there to be any exceptions. For example, everyone knows and understands that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. However, there are actually two places on Earth where that is not true (see beneath the table below for the answers where). Yet does the existence of those two exceptional places mean that people can’t rely on the sun rising in the east and setting in the west? Of course not. Don’t be fooled by propagandists cherry-picking data.


By the way, where are the two places on Earth where the sun doesn’t rise in the east nor set in the west? The North Pole (where the sun is always exactly south, rising due south and setting due south) and the South Pole (where the sun is always exactly north, rising due north and setting due the north).

Married Three Years!

Emma Rodriguez Suarez

I yesterday began my fourth year of being married to this beautiful Spaniard. Brains (‘Doctor Professor’ is how European academics address her); beauty (well, just look at her picture!); a marvelous personality (no wonder that some folks know me as ‘Mr. Rodriguez’); and the patience required to live with me (no explanation necessary).  I love her dearly. Happy Third Anniversary, Emma!