Category Archives: Science & Technology

Vermont’s Broken Road

Vermont is one of the states hardest hit by Hurricane Irene two weeks ago. The major artery of Vermont, Route 4, received serious damage, crippling traffic for Vermonters who use that road.

When I watched “The Rachel Maddow Show” last night — yeah, I know… shocker — it got me thinking about how many roads, let alone bridges,  across the country either in need of repair or replacement. This includes Route 4 in Vermont within the town of Mendon, especially after Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. “You know, you say problem, and Vermonters say challenge,” Maddow says. But if you can’t find another road to detour, what do you do? Vermonters turn to hiking through the woods.

Vermonters, who do have the option to drive but can’t drive or walk, can still get to Route 4 by following a long detour, sending them south via Route 103 to I-91. That’s and extra 80 miles!

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Springfield Tornado

Courtesy: WTNH.

This only happens once every 16 years in Massachusetts, but a tornado touched down in Western Massachusetts, slicing through Springfield and its suburbs late yesterday afternoon. At least three people were killed and dozens more were injured.

If you traveled northward on I-84 to Massachusetts yesterday, you had to deal with stop and go traffic as a result of the tornado. Its effects were felt as far south as Union, Thompson, and Stafford Springs.

Man v. Machine

From left: Ken Jennings, Watson, and Brad Rutter.

In the battle between man and machine, machine wins — most of the time. And the bout on Jeopardy! is no exception. The IBM computer named Watson took on two kings of Jeopardy! trivia for a battle of wits and speed. Ken Jennings, a 74-time champion of the famous quiz show, and Brad Rutter, who one 20 consecutive games, were no match for the supercomputer.

Surprised? This is akin to Deep Blue’s (a computer) 1997 victory against world chess champion Garry Kasparov. But don’t ever underestimate the power of man. Someday, we will find a way to beat the computer at its own game. But until then, it is what it is.

Earthquake in Ontario?

Courtesy: Associated Press.

Think earthquakes only happen on the West Coast? Think again. A 5.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Canada at the Ontario-Quebec border today. Its aftershocks not only slightly affected Chicago, New York City, and Pittsburgh, but they can be felt as far away as Rhode Island.

No one was hurt or killed during the earthquake at this time, but, according to CBS News, you can see many evacuating buildings in Toronto and Ottawa. Make no mistake, we need to take each earthquake seriously, even at a paltry 1.0 magnitude.

Best Cities for the Next Decade

I was jonesin’ through the Internet, as usual, when I came across the Yahoo! article for the “10 Best Citites for the Next Decade.” Although West Hartford here in Connecticut wasn’t the crème de la crème (Austin, Texas took that title), it certainly is among the top 10 best cities for the new decade.

If anything boosted the economy in West Hartford, it had to be the Blue Back Square smack dab in the middle of town. Yes, the unemployment rate is still high, but this town can create new jobs even during the recession. By the way, it’s still a recession until the unemployment rate goes down.

Apple vs. HTC

First it was the burger wars, then the cola wars. But the cell phone wars took fighting to a whole ‘nother level. Apple filed a lawsuit against HTC, maker of Google phone yesterday morning for stealing the iPhone technology from Apple. The suit includes a claim of infringement of 20 patents related to the iPhone’s user interface.

iPhone. Generally licensed to AT&T Wireless.

Apple iPhone.

“We can sit by and watch our competitors steal our patented inventions, or we can do something about it,” says Apple founder Steve Jobs, “Competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours.”  HTC had recently developed a cell phone based on Google’s Android operating system, which is aimed to rival iPhone. But Steve Jobs wasn’t having it. Nosiree, Bob!

Apple is already under a lawsuit against Nokia, while Nokia tries to counter-sue Apple. Just an example of he said, she said. You don’t know who to believe, who’s right or wrong, and who should apologize to whom. Seriously, Steve-o??? Stop being such a wuss. It’s called friendly competition — the one between the Android and your iPhone.