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Tuesday TEA Time

Yo, I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is busy. I'm preparing to travel for work at the en
January 23 · Issue #21 · View online
Tuesday TEA Time
I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is busy. I’m preparing to travel for work at the end of the week and that’s always a bit stressful. I’m super excited about this week’s newsletter because I feel like it’s all stuff that I’m interested in and each thing really caught my eye and made me take a look.
How do you like receiving these newsletters? Anything you would change? Are they too frequent? Too long or too short? Hit reply and let me know so I can do a better job.
Thanks and enjoy some cool stuff below.

I’m sure you heard about the false alarm in Hawaii that scared everyone there for over half an hour. In case you didn’t see it, this is the screen that one uses to choose which alert to send or which alert test to run:
Seems easy to make a mistake...
There were a lot of conversations on Twitter about how this was a “design problem” and that the person who made the mistake shouldn’t have been reassigned. I agree, but I also know that local governments have small budgets and making any kind of computer system work at all is a challenge. It’s really a problem for all of us: a lot of the software that we pay for through our taxes is bad and possibly harmful to us. 
Somehow, we will need to find ways to ensure that software paid for by public money is held to at least as high of a standard as the software we all use day to day, if not a higher standard. We also need at least some of our best software designers and builders to be interested in public work and not only drawn to large private corporations.

Another thing I found on twitter is this project by Julian Oliver to use wind energy to mine cryptocurrency to pay for climate research named Harvest.
I really like the idea of finding ways to take an environmentally destructive thing like mining cryptocurrency and trying to bend it to be good for the environment. Such a creative idea and it would be super fun to mix all the different things like the windmill with the graphics cards, etc, etc.

A final thing I found on twitter is a graph showing that the launch of the iPhone X caused Australia’s retail sales to jump the most they had in five years. You can also see in the graph that an iPhone launch can have similar impact on retail sales as a government stimulus package. 😳
In New Zealand, the authorities kept having trouble with traffic cones being moved and confusing drivers. After they installed video cameras they discovered that parrots (the Kea) were playing with the cones.
Homer Tunnel kea developing new skills on the side - YouTube
To try to redirect the bird’s nervous energy, they built the birds a gym. From a news article:
NZTA has set up a “kea gym” by the roadside, with objects, contraptions, and puzzles to distract the birds from the road.
A still image from a video camera observing the birds playing with their new gym
It’s awesome that these birds are so smart that they have to be kept occupied to keep them out of trouble. Here is a video I found with some more examples of how smart the Keas are:
Bird Intelligence: The New Zealand Kea - YouTube
My favorite thing I saw in the past week were these miniature paintings on tea bags by Ruby Silvious
There is a book “363 Days of Tea” that you can buy of her work and you can follow her on Instagram. These are just so great and mind blowing. Anytime someone can take something that is usually discarded or an after thought and turn it into something beautiful it catches my eye.
OK, that’s it, and I hope you enjoyed some cool stuff from above. Have a good rest of your week and see you soon.
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