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So…. took a bit of vacation last week.…hope you all enjoyed the 4th festivities… I loved them. Fireworks don’t happen nearly enough in my opinion. So I’m just gonna throw some in here for the heck of it…. because I can 🙂

Grab Bag Snail Mail, Email:

Dead as a Doornail?

Thoughts on The Evolution of Social “Need-ia”

For purposes of this discussion, I think most will agree that regular mail runs a distant also-ran when it comes to important, time-sensitive communication.

Have you noticed that your kids rarely check their email? It’s not just your imagination. From 2009 to 2010, email use by SENIORS increased by 28%. During that same time, email use by TEENS dropped by 59%.

Although business is still most often conducted through electronic mail, personal communication via email is dying.

In case you wanted to put some current (2010) numbers on what you surely have noticed, here we can look at the dying methods:

• 170 billion pieces of real, tangible, paper mail were sent – most of which seemed to be catalogs or credit card offers that ended up in my mailbox.

• 107 trillion emails were sent – most of which seemed to be offers for Viagra or penis-enhancement which ended up in my Inbox, so to speak 🙂

And here is a look at the rise of the next communication dynasty:

• 36 billion photos shared on Facebook – most of which probably embarrassed somebody, somewhere.

• 25 billion tweets were Twittered – most of which could be classified as “too much information” or, “why would I care“.

And for the overall perspective on the changing of the Social Media guard, from AOL to Facebook:

• 2004 Users of Facebook:1 million

• 2010 Users of Facebook: 600 million

• 2004 Users of AOL: 23 million

• 2010 Users of AOL: 4 million …. Ouch

What does all this mean? I know that many like me in an “older generation” wonder how this will mold our kids. Frankly, I don’t get Twitter (other than for promotional purposes)and I am pretty suspicious of Facebook.

And what of Facebook? Is it here to stay, or will it fall out of favor, much like MySpace?  To quote blog writer and author Joel Postman, “I think Facebook is on its way to becoming the next AOL. Just without CDs.”

It’s moments like this that make me feel old 🙂

Grab Bag Rare Earth:

There are no free lunches…. not yet anyway.

As we laude the coming of alternative energy for cars and other power-hungry devices, we must also realize that those alternatives will require massive amounts of…. alternative materials.

I’m not trying to be Nancy Naysayer, I just think we need to know what we are getting ourselves into when we commit to alternatives and new technology.

To make a global shift to hybrid cars, high-tech electronics and fluorescent lighting will require an increasing dependance on rare earth elements.

This 3½ minute video does a great job of shining more understanding on this issue… one we are all party to:

Additionally, here is an excerpt from an excellent article on rare earth elements (full text here):

Mining and refining rare earths makes an environmental mess, leading most countries to neglect their own reserves, even as demand soars. China has been the main exception since the early 1990s, dominating global trade with its willingness to intensively mine rare earths — and to deal with their acidic, radioactive byproducts. That’s why the U.S., despite large deposits of its own, still gets 92 percent of its rare earths from China.
Maybe it’s a better story than oil…. maybe not…. maybe it’s just different. To “go greener” with battery and other high-tech electronic solutions will still pollute, will still be finite, and will still skew global economies in ways that delight commodities traders.
Note to self: Reduce, Reuse, Recyle

Grab Bag Road Warrior:

At least this guy is thinking. Yes, this would be costly. Most major commitments are, in some fashion or another. We need alternative energy sources…. soon. And those will have their own costs (like rare earth metals, above).

So the question is, can we afford this or any other major infrastructure shift?

Or maybe a better question is…. can we not?

Grab Bag OMG:

I know we’ve all wanted to answer the burning question…..

How close to a train track can you set up a vegetable market?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Grab Bag YouTube U:

Here are some nifty tips and tricks to make YouTube useful (Yousful?), rather than just fun:

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Memorize the pictures (the sooner you hit the Continue button, the higher your score), then answer a random question about that picture. Great observation skills builder.

In between questions, adds will pop up on the right side of the screen… don’t click on those.… just wait for the button below your answer to appear… takes about 3 seconds.

Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

THE DEAD COW  LECTURE

More on observation skills…. this is the best lesson for paying attention that one can imagine.

First-year students at the Purdue Vet School were attending their first anatomy class with a real dead cow. They all gathered around the surgery table with the body covered with a white sheet.

The professor started the class by telling them, “In Veterinary medicine it is necessary to have two important qualities as a doctor. The first is that you not be disgusted by anything involving the animal’s body.” For an example, the professor pulled back the sheet, stuck his finger in the butt of the cow, withdrew it, and stuck his finger in his mouth.

Go ahead and do the same thing,” he told his students. The students freaked out, hesitated for several minutes, but eventually took turns sticking a finger in the butt of the dead cow and sucking on it.

When everyone finished, the Professor looked at them and said, “The second most important quality is observation. I stuck in my middle finger and sucked on my index finger. Now learn to pay attention. Life’s tough but it’s even tougher if you’re stupid.

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