Death of Childhood Icons in 2016

This post will date me, but people about my age have whined a lot this year about iconic people to our lives dying.

A year is an arbitrary range of time for a solar revolution. It could could run from March 21st (the spring equinox) to March 20th just as easily as it currently runs January 1st to December 31st. Or another range of dates.

Some people have blamed the year. (Hopefully not seriously.) I think it is because we are essentially older. Our parents are of an age where they are more likely to have health problems and possibly die. The same as their parents did for them about 20-30 years ago.

The people who were famous for things they did in the 70 and 80s are of an age where they are more likely to die from complications due to being old.

Others were younger, but still getting close to old. Some of these are also known for their drug use.

The BBC made an interesting point…

There are also more famous people than there used to be. In my father or grandfather’s generation, the only famous people really were from cinema — there was no television. Then, if anybody wasn’t on TV, they weren’t famous.

Well, there were radio stars prior to TV. And these days TV and movie and theatre actors / actresses significantly participate in multiple mediums.

There is also the 27 Club, who are celebrities who died at age 27. Think Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin or Kurt Cobain. There was one this year: Anton Yelchin who played Chekov in the Star Trek reboot.

Finally, the availability heuristic is also at play. News organizations talking so much about these deaths can make it FEEL like more died this year than last. Just because the number of stories is up does not mean more died.

TED Talk: After your final status update

The idea of preserving social media after our deaths seems creepy to me. But then I do

“You can imagine what something like this will look like 5, 10, 20 years from now as our technical capabilities improve.” It seems like a ENORMOUS claim that a social media company will last 20 years. Today’s top social media companies were founded in…

  • Facebook: February 2004 (7 years old),
  • Twitter: March 2006 (5 years old),
  • LinkedIn: May 2003 (8 years old),
  • Myspace: August 2003 (8 years old),
  • Ning: October 2005 (6 years old)

The odds of any particular social network existing after a sophomore in high school student today graduates from college is low (chosen because that is about when COPPA starts). This is a fickle market space where users literally vote with their attention. Google is working on their third social network in 6 years. Why would we trust these sites when they seem likely doomed to have limited lifespan? But maybe it is only important to immortalize someone for only a few years?

Introduction from TED site:

Many of us have a social media presence — a virtual personality made up of status updates, tweets and connections, stored in the cloud. Adam Ostrow asks a big question: What happens to that personality after you’ve died? Could it … live on?

Link to Adam Ostrow: After your final status update if embedded video below breaks.

Every Movie Geek Needs His Quotes

GeekDad published a list of top 100 Geek quotes. I happen to like movies and quotes. However, this list seems lame. None of my favorites even made the top ten.

  1. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Obiwan Kenobi, Star Wars. Of course, I got more attached to this quote when a coworker used this to perplex our boss. I’m sure there are days he regretted hiring so many twenty somethings.
  2. “Half of writing history is hiding the truth.” Mal, Serenity.
  3. “I’ve done far worse than kill you. I’ve hurt you. And I wish to go on… hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left her. Marooned for all eternity, in the center of a dead planet… buried alive. Buried alive.” Khan Noonien Singh, ST:TWOK
  4. “I must not fear. / Fear is the mind-killer. / Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. / I will face my fear. / I will permit it to pass over me and through me. / And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. / Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. / Only I will remain.” – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear, Dune
  5. “How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life, wouldn’t you say?” Captain James T. Kirk, ST:TWOK
  6. “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, SW:TESB. Yes, I have a teeshirt about this.
  7. “Raspberry. There’s only one man who would dare give me the raspberry: Lone Star!” Dark Helmet, Spaceballs.

What are your favorite movie quotes?

One of FORTRAN Developers Died

I took a college course on FORTRAN in college. At the time I was a Pre-Engineering major with aspirations to transfer to a program requiring it. In my entire educational career I haven’t taken much in programming classes:

  1. QBasic
  2. Fortran
  3. Java

Actually, that is all the programming languages I’ve learned (and through lack of use forgotten). By contrast, all of the markup and scripting languages I’ve learned have been self taught on the job. I still use most of them today. Lucky me!

A principal developer of FORTRAN died today.

John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies – New York Times:

John W. Backus, who assembled and led the I.B.M. team that created Fortran, the first widely used programming language, which helped open the door to modern computing, died on Saturday at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 82.

Fake + Kidnapping = Bad Idea

Woman fakes kidnapping to avoid work – Yahoo! News:

A 21-year-old German woman who did not feel like going to work at a fast food restaurant sent her parents a text message saying she had been kidnapped.

Police in the Bavarian town of Straubing said Wednesday they had launched a massive search throughout the region for the woman who disappeared on December 23 but turned up unscathed the following morning, saying the kidnapper had set her free.

A spokesman said the woman was questioned over the Christmas holiday and admitted she made up the story because she owed a colleague 25 euros ($32.9) and did not have the money to pay her debt. She now faces a fine of up to 1,000 euros.

She did this to avoid paying 25 euros. So what is she going to do for the fine of 1,000 euros, fake her own death? I mean, I feel like I would like to skip work at times. If I owed a coworker 3 times my hourly wage and didn’t have it, then I probably would be thinking about how to get out of it. However, faking a kidnapping seems like a really bad idea.