Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Four Ecuadorian Soccer Balls

Can you juggle four soccer balls at once?
Can you bounce one off your head and keep juggling?
Can you let one ball drop to the ground and kick it back in line with the rest?
Can you flip a ball behind your back and up overhead while juggling?

Would you do this in a crosswalk of a busy intersection at eight in the morning?
Would you do this in that crosswalk while it was cold and drizzling?
Would you stay out there for hours, repeating the same performance for each change of the light?
Would you have done this as a young teenager?
Would that teenager have done this not for fun but to try to earn money?
Would you walk the line of cars after each performance hoping for some spare change?

This morning I watched that teenager.
He was not large physically and looked undersized for the task but he was huge in spirit.

Cuenca is adorned with interesting street performers -- some juggle soccer balls, one in a crosswalk I saw juggle three machetes while spinning a basketball on top of an umbrella balanced on his chin, all while hurrying before the streetlight changed and the roar of cars, trucks, and buses passed him by. There are well-rehearsed break-dancer routines performed in sync by 2, 3, 4 dancers. Other surprises await around the corner.   

There is more than what some will see as only the desperation of poverty in play here.
It is not only what is done but how it's done that amazes and inspires. 
That amazement and inspiration can be found in the people of Cuenca.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Taking a Walk in Cuenca
Clown Walking
"We laugh at sheep because sheep just follow the one in front. Ah, stupid sheep! We humans have out-sheeped the sheep because at least the sheep need a sheepdog to keep them in line. Humans keep each other in line. And they do it by ridiculing or condemning anyone who commits the crime -- because that's what it's become -- of being different." -David Icke
Split Sunet

A gringo is riding an elevator up in a condo building in Cuenca.
On the way up another gringo gets on.
The gringo on the elevator smiles with a welcoming, "Hola!"
 The gringo getting on humorously answers, "Hola! Como estas?"
"Muy buen," comes the answer, plus, "Esta buen dia para ti?"
 "Si," is the reply, then hopefully, "Habla ingl├ęs usted?"
This elicits a smile and the mournful answer, "Un poco, muy poco y lentamente."
 The two gringos have a laugh and the elevator doors open.
The gringo exiting offers, "Que tengas un buen dia!"
 In return there's an appreciative nod and wave.
And who says old gringos can't learn new tricks.
True story.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Where are we?

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are not possible."
—Lord Kelvin, 1895

"The most important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplemented by new discoveries is exceedingly remote."
—Albert Abraham Michelson, 1903

"Airplanes have no military value."
—Professor Marshal Foch, 1912

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
—IBM Chairman Thomas Watson, 1943

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
—Popular Mechanics, 1949

"It would appear that we have reached the limits of what is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in five years."
—John von Neumann, 1949

"There's no reason for individuals to have a computer in their home."
—Ken Olson, 1977

"640,000 bytes of memory ought to be enough for anybody."
—Bill Gates, 1981

"Long before the year 2000, the entire antiquated structure of college degrees, majors and credits will be a shambles."
—Alvin Toffler

"I predict the internet will soon go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse."
Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, in InfoWorld magazine, December 1995.

"Rock and roll? It will be gone by June."
Variety magazine, 1955

"Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
Economist Irving Fisher in October 1929

"The Beatles have no future in show business.
We don’t like your boys’ sound. Groups are out. Four-piece groups with guitars, particularly, are finished."
A Decca Records executive to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, following an audition in 1962.

"Remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop."
Time magazine, 1968.

"The coming of the wireless era will make war impossible, because it will make war ridiculous."
Guglielmo Marconi, pioneer of radio, writing in Technical World magazine, October 1912.

"We can close the books on infectious diseases."
Surgeon General of the United States William H. Stewart, speaking to the U.S. Congress in 1969.

"Ours has been the first [expedition] and doubtless to be the last to visit this profitless locality."
Lt. Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861.

"Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."
Dr. Dionysys Larder, science writer and academic, in 1828.

"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
Robert Millikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1923

"A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere."
New York Times, 1936

"The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty - a fad."
The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Company, 1903

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication."
William Orton, president of Western Union, in 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell tried to sell the company his invention

“The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.”
Charlie Chaplin in 1916, two years into his big-screen acting career.

"Y2K is a crisis without precedent in human history."
Byte magazine editor Edmund DeJesus, 1998

"Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput."
Baron Alan Sugar, English business magnate, media personality, politician and political adviser.

“Fooling around with alternating current (AC) is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” 

— Thomas Edison 1889

"Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles.  We stand on the threshold of rocket mail." 

— Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General. 1959

"There's just not that many videos I want to watch." 

— Steve Chen, CTO and co-founder of YouTube expressing concerns about his company’s long term viability. 2005

“I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future.”
– President Barack Obama to Congress in 2009. Less than four years later, the GAO announced 'The Affordable Healthcare Act' could increase the federal deficit by $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years