My Morning Coffee And The News

by Christopher Paul on September 23, 2016

When I was commuting to work in downtown Manhattan from Princeton, NJ in the early aughts, my trips would last over two hours each way and there wasn’t much else to do besides read the newspaper and have a cup of coffee. Smartphones and tablets weren’t around then and paper products were your only source of information until you got to your desk.

My ritual of purchasing a bagel, coffee, and newspaper (or two) was how I passed the time but also how I ramped up for the day. The calories, caffeine, and connection to the world around me prepared me for what was often a busy 10 hour day. I’d read the paper from cover to cover and I’d start with the Daily News and move on to the Wall Street Journal while I drank my coffee — finishing everything just before getting to Penn Station. Even though I still had to get downtown, I had the focus and clarity to handle whatever New York threw at me.

Now, depending on where my clients are, I walk to either the bus, ferry, or subway for work and the trips are often too short to get through a lot of news or a cup of coffee. Perhaps its fitting for a shortened news cycle or information contained in a tweet. But I miss the rituals my previous commute allowed. When I have the opportunity, I make myself a cup and take out my iPad and read all the in-depth analysis from the day before… and my day always starts off better when I do.

Jason Bourne Movie Trailer

by Christopher Paul on April 22, 2016

The Bourne films have been some of my favorites and I regularly watch them despite their age. Yesterday, the new Jason Bourne trailer came out and I’m hoping it’s as good as the other three movies with Matt Damon. It’s directed by Paul Greengrass who did the Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum. It opens July 29 and I may break my ‘no going to movie theater’ rule to see it.

How ‘Puff The Magic Dragon’ Came to Be

by Christopher Paul on April 21, 2016

I never knew the song came from a quick poem written by the guy who invented a form of 3D movies. I never thought the song was about smoking marijuana; I thought it was a story about the a child’s imagination getting lost as he grew up into an adult. Maybe I was being a little to literal.


How New York Gets Its Water

by Christopher Paul on April 15, 2016

How New York Gets Its Water  The New York Times

Everything is bigger in New York City and it’s water system is no different. The New York Times has a fantastic article that looks into where New York gets its water, how it gets to the city, and how they monitor the health and safety of the water that 9.5 million people drink.

The city gets its water from a series of watersheds which feed three reservoirs through an aqueduct that is 1,100 feet below the Hudson River. Gravity moves the water along 92 miles.

The city constantly monitors the health and safety of the water:

Field scientists are constantly monitoring temperature, pH, nutrient and microbial levels.

Last year, robotic buoys recorded 1.9 million measurements, and field scientists collected 15,500 samples from reservoirs, streams and aqueducts upstate for analysis.

All of the data is fed into a centralized computer system, which also takes into account advanced weather forecasting to make determinations to predict the quality and quantity of water that day — and even six months into the future — at each reservoir.

It’s later chlorinated and other chemicals are added to raise pH levels high enough so lead doesn’t contaminate the water. To make sure contaminates don’t get into the system after it’s treated at the plant, more tests are done in the city itself.

Scientists collected 31,700 water samples in the city last year. More than 383,000 tests were performed on them, either at the sampling stations or at a laboratory in Queens. Scientists looked for E. coli, which could indicate sewage contamination; Cryptosporidium and giardia, common culprits of stomach illnesses; and other bacteria.

They also checked for toxic metals like lead, organic contaminants and unregulated chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, a toxic chemical associated with the making of Teflon.

If you’re still worried about lead getting into your water, it’s recommended you flush the system for 30 seconds to two minutes. Water sitting in pipes leads has the greatest risk of contamination.

Finally, New York has the best tasting water and that’s because the minerals found in the limestone of the Catskill Mountains have low levels of calcium which can taste bitter.

via Kottke

There’s a New Verse to ‘Yakko’s World’

by Christopher Paul on April 13, 2016

I loved watching Animaniacs as a teenager when it was on TV. I was in high school and found the humor well suited for adults and children alike. I wasn’t the only fan, it seems, because a lot of people were happy to see it on Netflix at the start of the month.

One of the most memorable scenes for me was ‘Yakko’s World’ which I’ve embedded above and the ‘Presidents’ which is embedded below. With the show being aired on Netflix, the actors who voiced the characters are touring (something I’d like to see) with a new verse to ‘Yakko’s World’:

…starting this year, Mr. Paulsen, 60, plans to reunite with the voices of Wakko (Jess Harnell) and Dot (Tress MacNeille) on tour to perform many of the show’s memorable songs, including Wakko’s list of American states and their capitals and a recollection of all of the U.S. presidents. This time, the voice actors will be backed by a full orchestra, as they were with the Colorado Symphony in 2014.

History buffs might be glad to hear that Mr. Paulsen will perform a new verse of “Yakko’s World,” which was written before the Soviet Union broke up, in 1991. The song has been frequently nitpicked for its omissions and shortcuts, and the new verse will add any nations formed in the past 25 years.

NY Times via Patrick LaForge