Columns

The importance of information theory

Most people probably don't think about it when streaming Netflix, but what it does is actually quite amazing.Let me explain why.A typical movie that is stored on a Blu-Ray disk is around between 18 Gigabytes and 30 Gigabytes in size. Movies are usually around 70 to 120 minutes in length. So ...

Is free college tuition a crackpot idea?

Prominent opinion leaders and leading American politicians have roundly rejected the unrealistic and impractical idea, championed by a member of Congress from Vermont, to provide a four-year college education at no, or very low, tuition cost to every American high school student who qualifies ...

Spring a leek

"We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic." - Numbers: 11:5----I mention this Bible passage because, dating back to ancient Egypt, it is the oldest reference to leeks that I'm aware of.Every year around ...

Farewell, grand old party

WASHINGTON - It wasn't precisely an act of moral courage, but House Speaker Paul Ryan's comment that he's not ready to support presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump was at least ... something.Whether it's a start or a finish remains to be revealed, but it would seem that we're ...

Can Trump disrupt the general election as he did the primaries?

So Republicans now have a presumptive nominee - one headed to a clear delegate majority without visible opposition - sooner than the Democrats. It's another way in which this year's presidential race has defied expectations and ignored precedent.Donald Trump will now have 10 months to ...

Point and insurance reduction program beneficial

Most of us learn to drive at an early age, likely when we are in our teens. However, once we have our license, there is no requirement for refresher training, in spite of the fact that new vehicle and traffic laws are added every year.As I deliver traffic safety talks to various groups from ...

Gotta know when it’s time to pull up stakes

Rising temperatures, rain and the steadily increasing daylight hours indicate that spring has arrived, and with it comes the traditional influx of migrating birds and the return of native wildlife. Every day, there is increasingly visible evidence of these returning natives and their ...

Village board flummoxed by hose

(Other issues easily decided at May meeting - 1916)The Saranac Lake Village Board now holds meetings on Mondays - but 100 years ago the Board met on Tuesdays which gave them more time to recuperate from weekend activities.In 1916, the big cheese, the lead dog, the grand pupa, the head honcho of ...

Bush Republicanism is dead and gone

"The two living Republican past presidents, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, have no plans to endorse Trump, according to their spokesmen." So said the lead story in The Washington Post.Graceless, yes, but not unexpected. The Bushes have many fine qualities. Losing well, however, is not one ...

Frozen in time … and every other which way

Last week I had the privilege of traveling in Europe with my mishpocha.We spent a week in Spain, then an additional three days in Holland.Everything went swimmingly. The hotels were fine, the food deelish, the public transportation fast and efficient. Beyond that, everyone we dealt with was ...

Fade to Blues: ‘Born With the Blues’

If you close your eyes while listening to Fade to Blues' full-length record, "Born With the Blues," you will find yourself magically transported to a smoke-filled, low-lit juke joint whose denizens are just dangerous enough that anything can happen.From the opening, overdriven chord of album ...

Parsley and chives: spring duet

"An herb is the friend of physicians and the praise of cooks." - CharlemagneEach spring, the earliest greens to show in our garden - in addition to dandelions - are the perennial chives and last year's parsley. These early green shoots and tender leaves satisfy our spring cravings for fresh ...

Decisions, decisions …

For the past couple weeks, the lines of a song have been stuck in my head: "Did you ever have to make up your mind? Pick up on one and leave the other one behind? ... Say yes to one and let the other one slide? Did you ever have to finally decide?"It's an old song. I found it online to listen ...

Ted Cruz’s fall from grace

WASHINGTON - When Shakespeare wrote the "truth will out," he must have had Ted Cruz in mind.Cruz's truth - or his true self - has been leaking by steady drips ever since he began his candidacy, which was at approximately 12:10 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2013, when Cruz was sworn in as a freshman senator ...

The misadventures of Fannie and Freddie

WASHINGTON - Gigantic government's complexity and opacity provide innumerable opportunities for opportunists to act unconstrained by clear law or effective supervision. Today's example, involving the government's expropriation of hundreds of billions of dollars, features three sets of ...

Our sick drug business

Sometimes the road to hell is paved with bad intentions. A company adopts a business model so twisted that justice must come clanking down on its executives and bankrollers. Justice is now being served on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. Evil this blatant is headed for the full Hollywood ...

Whom to blame for the rise of Trump?

Dr. Frankenstein created the monster that bore his name, and if Dr. Jekyll had not conducted those experiments in his laboratory, Mr. Hyde would never have emerged to terrorize London.In literature, we know whom to blame for the monsters, but who is to blame for the rise of Donald Trump? Is he ...

Book details Cole’s time in upstate New York

As a young Englishman, Thomas Cole immigrated with his family to America, eager to behold the rugged beauty he had only traversed in the turning of pages.In early 19th-century New York, his artist's dreams of the New World were at times tempered by what Cole described as the sad, repulsive ...

Dickens for president

During World War II, posters reminded us to be careful not to reveal information that would help the enemy. They warned that "LOOSE LIPS MIGHT SINK SHIPS." At some point, the qualification was dropped, giving us "LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS." In political matters, simplistic overstatement seems to ...

The end of pieties

When the Americans defeated the British at Yorktown, the surrendering British forces supposedly played "The World Turned Upside Down."The song should be on the soundtrack at Donald Trump rallies. The mogul is marching toward the Republican nomination by trampling every single assumption about ...