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Posts tagged THE REAL WORLD

2 Notes

This is what it sounds like in Brasil when Brasil score

This video was taken by Claus Wahlers in Moema, São Paulo, during the opening game Brasil x Croatia. And no, those are not gunshots, just regular Brasilian fireworks.

Awesome.

Notes

The reality show
Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense.
How technology and modern entertainment has paralleled paranoia.
One to read.

The reality show

Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense.

How technology and modern entertainment has paralleled paranoia.

One to read.

1 Notes

The big bumper toolkit for HAPPY LIVING
'Modern Life is Rubbish'. Arguably Blur's best album, but not an entirely accurate sentiment – modern life is actually pretty spiffy. However, there are certain key elements of it that you need to get properly locked down in order for it all to function satisfactorily, and for this reason we've compiled for you the Big Bumper Toolkit for Happy Living. Y'know, just to help out.
Here’s what you need to do or acquire to ensure that everything is lovely -
1. Quality bedding
Never underestimate the importance of having a decent kip. Being asleep is pretty much the best thing you can do. So don’t balk at the cost of decent bedding, it’s worth every penny. Take £200 to John Lewis and buy an all-seasons duck-down duvet (unless you’re allergic to feathers, obviously – then it’d be a really stupid idea); while you’re there, another £50-odd on Egyptian cotton sheets will help. Yeah, it’s annoyingly expensive, but just trust me. Best money you’ll ever spend. Thank me tomorrow.
2. Chargers
Your life will be infinitely less annoying if you make sure you’ve got enough phone chargers.
Get one to live beside your bed, another for the living room or kitchen, one for the car, and one for your desk drawer at work. Then you won’t be that annoying person who’s always bitching about low battery and scrounging for leads, and you also won’t do that frustrating thing where you get into bed, realise your battery’s on 7% and your charger’s downstairs, and have to trek all the way down to get it.
And don’t believe that crap about your device being harmed by non-branded generic chargers, it’s just a bridge between your power socket and your battery. Buy Chinese 99p chargers from eBay. What can go wrong*?!
*Please don’t send me a bill if your phone catches fire
3. A good television
I don’t know about you, but I spend a fair bit of time watching telly. It pays to get a good one. Even if you do end up blowing more money than you can comfortably afford right now, the cost-per-view will shrink every time you switch it on; buying quality will mean it lasts for years, as well as giving better sound and picture. And it gives you an excuse to watch TV constantly, using that whole cost-per-view thing as justification.
Please, please don’t just go to Tesco and buy a Technika (or other shit brand you’ve never heard of) – yes, it’s very cheap, but you get what you pay for. It’ll be awful, and you’ll have to replace it next year.
4. Decent wi-fi
C’mon, it’s 2014. Fast internet access is readily available. If your provider can’t provide, swap to someone who can. Time spent waiting for pages to load is dead time you’ll never get back.
5. Tactile glassware
Some people end up with a cupboard full of random mismatched glasses that they’ve acquired over the years from a variety of sources. These people are doing it wrong.
If you’re having a beer, pour it into a pint glass (and don’t pour an ale into a lager glass, the agitator in the base will fizz it up and ruin it). Get some nice wine glasses. Buy a set of chunky tumblers with heavy bases for your spirits. It’ll feel right. Little luxuries, they make a big difference.
6. Buy new socks every now and then
It might just be me, but I reckon the whole rigmarole of getting dressed in the morning is massively improved by having socks that you like. I mean, getting dressed is very little effort, but the fact that you’ve had to get up at all makes the whole thing annoying. But nice socks make it OK. Yeah? Comfy socks, soft ones, with attractive stripes or interesting patterns. I spent years in the wilderness wearing cheap black socks, and I’m pretty sure my life is better now.
7. Make sure everyone fucks off and leaves you alone
Register with the Telephone Preference Service. This should, in theory, ensure that you never received unsolicited marketing calls on your landline (you still will, that’s just life, but now you have an amazing weapon in your arsenal that makes the bastards hang up immediately).
Stop mindlessly deleting all of those crap emails that keep popping into your inbox and actually bother to open them and click ‘unsubscribe’ - your new-found inbox cleanliness will make your heart smile.
Oh, and disconnect your doorbell. No-one of any interest will ever ring it out of the blue, and if it’s somebody you know then they’ll definitely call you and say “yo, I’m at the front door…”
8. Get spares
Set aside a drawer in your house. Fill it with the following -
AA batteries. Light bulbs of various wattages and fittings. AAA batteries. Plasters. Germolene. Bonjela. Sellotape. Menus for your favourite local takeaways. Two screwdrivers (one flathead, one Phillips). A torch. A biro. Some string. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, Immodium. A tape measure.
Call this your useful drawer. It’ll save all sorts of where-the-fuck-is-that-ism.
-
Unfortunately most of these suggestions involve buying something, and they’re not all cheap things either.
Sorry about that.
But then if you had your life in order, maybe you’d have sorted some of this shit out already. You can’t blame me for that.
JuicyPips, direct from the mind of @denialvibes, is published weekly.

The big bumper toolkit for HAPPY LIVING

'Modern Life is Rubbish'. Arguably Blur's best album, but not an entirely accurate sentiment – modern life is actually pretty spiffy. However, there are certain key elements of it that you need to get properly locked down in order for it all to function satisfactorily, and for this reason we've compiled for you the Big Bumper Toolkit for Happy Living. Y'know, just to help out.

Here’s what you need to do or acquire to ensure that everything is lovely -

1. Quality bedding

Never underestimate the importance of having a decent kip. Being asleep is pretty much the best thing you can do. So don’t balk at the cost of decent bedding, it’s worth every penny. Take £200 to John Lewis and buy an all-seasons duck-down duvet (unless you’re allergic to feathers, obviously – then it’d be a really stupid idea); while you’re there, another £50-odd on Egyptian cotton sheets will help. Yeah, it’s annoyingly expensive, but just trust me. Best money you’ll ever spend. Thank me tomorrow.

2. Chargers

Your life will be infinitely less annoying if you make sure you’ve got enough phone chargers.

Get one to live beside your bed, another for the living room or kitchen, one for the car, and one for your desk drawer at work. Then you won’t be that annoying person who’s always bitching about low battery and scrounging for leads, and you also won’t do that frustrating thing where you get into bed, realise your battery’s on 7% and your charger’s downstairs, and have to trek all the way down to get it.

And don’t believe that crap about your device being harmed by non-branded generic chargers, it’s just a bridge between your power socket and your battery. Buy Chinese 99p chargers from eBay. What can go wrong*?!

*Please don’t send me a bill if your phone catches fire

3. A good television

I don’t know about you, but I spend a fair bit of time watching telly. It pays to get a good one. Even if you do end up blowing more money than you can comfortably afford right now, the cost-per-view will shrink every time you switch it on; buying quality will mean it lasts for years, as well as giving better sound and picture. And it gives you an excuse to watch TV constantly, using that whole cost-per-view thing as justification.

Please, please don’t just go to Tesco and buy a Technika (or other shit brand you’ve never heard of) – yes, it’s very cheap, but you get what you pay for. It’ll be awful, and you’ll have to replace it next year.

4. Decent wi-fi

C’mon, it’s 2014. Fast internet access is readily available. If your provider can’t provide, swap to someone who can. Time spent waiting for pages to load is dead time you’ll never get back.

5. Tactile glassware

Some people end up with a cupboard full of random mismatched glasses that they’ve acquired over the years from a variety of sources. These people are doing it wrong.

If you’re having a beer, pour it into a pint glass (and don’t pour an ale into a lager glass, the agitator in the base will fizz it up and ruin it). Get some nice wine glasses. Buy a set of chunky tumblers with heavy bases for your spirits. It’ll feel right. Little luxuries, they make a big difference.

6. Buy new socks every now and then

It might just be me, but I reckon the whole rigmarole of getting dressed in the morning is massively improved by having socks that you like. I mean, getting dressed is very little effort, but the fact that you’ve had to get up at all makes the whole thing annoying. But nice socks make it OK. Yeah? Comfy socks, soft ones, with attractive stripes or interesting patterns. I spent years in the wilderness wearing cheap black socks, and I’m pretty sure my life is better now.

7. Make sure everyone fucks off and leaves you alone

Register with the Telephone Preference Service. This should, in theory, ensure that you never received unsolicited marketing calls on your landline (you still will, that’s just life, but now you have an amazing weapon in your arsenal that makes the bastards hang up immediately).

Stop mindlessly deleting all of those crap emails that keep popping into your inbox and actually bother to open them and click ‘unsubscribe’ - your new-found inbox cleanliness will make your heart smile.

Oh, and disconnect your doorbell. No-one of any interest will ever ring it out of the blue, and if it’s somebody you know then they’ll definitely call you and say “yo, I’m at the front door…”

8. Get spares

Set aside a drawer in your house. Fill it with the following -

AA batteries. Light bulbs of various wattages and fittings. AAA batteries. Plasters. Germolene. Bonjela. Sellotape. Menus for your favourite local takeaways. Two screwdrivers (one flathead, one Phillips). A torch. A biro. Some string. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, Immodium. A tape measure.

Call this your useful drawer. It’ll save all sorts of where-the-fuck-is-that-ism.

-

Unfortunately most of these suggestions involve buying something, and they’re not all cheap things either.

Sorry about that.

But then if you had your life in order, maybe you’d have sorted some of this shit out already. You can’t blame me for that.

JuicyPips, direct from the mind of @denialvibes, is published weekly.

10 Notes

Divers’ paradise

A Chinese city, left to ruin after a dam flooded the valley it lay in, has become a paradise for divers.

The ancient city of Shi Cheng, known as the Lion City because it was surrounded by the five Lion Mountains, was founded over 1,300 years ago. It vanished more than half a century ago to make way for a new hydroelectric power station and a man-made lake.

The once bustling city is now between 85 and 131 feet underwater.

An artist's impression of the town as it once was

But Qiu Feng, a local official in charge of tourism, decided to see what remained of the city under the deep waters.

"We were lucky. As soon as we dived into the lake, we found the outside wall of the town and even picked up a brick to prove it"

The town is in remarkable conditions, with wooden beams and stairs still remaining.

Now a film crew has been on site to record the preservation of the lost ruins.

@paulrgn is a regular contributor to Found Things.

1 Notes

Is our universe a simulation?
So this is kinda scary. And amazing. And complicated.
Mathematician Edward Frenkel writes in the New York Times that one fanciful possibility that explains why mathematics seems to permeate our universe is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics - not in what we commonly take to be the real world.
According to this theses, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised a simulation and we are unknowingly part of it.
Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used.
This may strike you as very unlikely, but physicists have been creating their own computer simulations of the forces of nature for years, just on much smaller scale. They use a three-dimensional grid to model a little chunk of the universe; then they run the program to see what happens.

"Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not.
"If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them - presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones. Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one."

Yikes.
Is there any way to empirically test this hypothesis? Well, surprisingly, yes.
In a recent paper, “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation”, the physicists Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage outline a possible method for detecting that our world is actually a computer simulation (PDF).
Savage and his colleagues assume that any future simulators would use some of the same techniques current scientists use to run simulations, with the same constraints.
The future simulators, Savage indicated, would map their universe on a mathematical lattice or grid, consisting of points and lines. But computer simulations generate slight but distinctive anomalies - certain kinds of asymmetries and they suggest that a closer look at cosmic rays may reveal similar asymmetries.
If so, this would indicate that we might - just might - all be in someone else’s computer simulation…

Is our universe a simulation?

So this is kinda scary. And amazing. And complicated.

Mathematician Edward Frenkel writes in the New York Times that one fanciful possibility that explains why mathematics seems to permeate our universe is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics - not in what we commonly take to be the real world.

According to this theses, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised a simulation and we are unknowingly part of it.

Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used.

This may strike you as very unlikely, but physicists have been creating their own computer simulations of the forces of nature for years, just on much smaller scale. They use a three-dimensional grid to model a little chunk of the universe; then they run the program to see what happens.

"Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom has argued that we are more likely to be in such a simulation than not.

"If such simulations are possible in theory, he reasons, then eventually humans will create them - presumably many of them. If this is so, in time there will be many more simulated worlds than nonsimulated ones. Statistically speaking, therefore, we are more likely to be living in a simulated world than the real one."

Yikes.

Is there any way to empirically test this hypothesis? Well, surprisingly, yes.

In a recent paper, “Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation”, the physicists Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage outline a possible method for detecting that our world is actually a computer simulation (PDF).

Savage and his colleagues assume that any future simulators would use some of the same techniques current scientists use to run simulations, with the same constraints.

The future simulators, Savage indicated, would map their universe on a mathematical lattice or grid, consisting of points and lines. But computer simulations generate slight but distinctive anomalies - certain kinds of asymmetries and they suggest that a closer look at cosmic rays may reveal similar asymmetries.

If so, this would indicate that we might - just might - all be in someone else’s computer simulation

1 Notes

How do you identify bees?

Sam Droege is the head of the USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program in Maryland, an organisation that monitors the health and habitat of bees in the U.S. as well as creating archival reference catalogs that aid researchers in the identification of bee species in North America.

The project is no small task as there are literally thousands of bee species in the U.S., many of which vary in only the most minute of ways.

To aid in the identification process the USGS Bee Inventory relies on extremely high resolution photography, an initiative led by Droege that has been ongoing since 2010.

Droege’s macro photos of bees are so clear and well executed that they practically pass as works of art in their own right.

He shares with Flickr -

“When we started looking at these pictures, I just wanted to gaze at these shots for long periods of time.

”I had seen these insects for many years, but the level of detail was incredible. The fact that everything was focused, the beauty and the arrangement of the insects themselves - the ratios of the eyes, the golden means, the french curves of the body, and the colours that would slide very naturally from one shade to another were just beautiful!

"It was the kind of thing that we could not achieve at the highest level of art.”

You can see much more on Flickr.

Notes

The other side of London

On the outskirts of London, there is a world in which no lead guided tours and on which most of our citizens and suspects. Today, the author, together with a local guide will show you the “Capital Of Great Britan” on the negative side.

Grim and hilarious. A Russian review of London, through Google translate.
Via @abovedave.

The other side of London

On the outskirts of London, there is a world in which no lead guided tours and on which most of our citizens and suspects. Today, the author, together with a local guide will show you the “Capital Of Great Britan” on the negative side.

Grim and hilarious. A Russian review of London, through Google translate.

Via @abovedave.

1 Notes

42 reflections on the meaning of life, the universe and everything
Simply stunning: if you only read one thing today, make it this.

42 reflections on the meaning of life, the universe and everything

Simply stunning: if you only read one thing today, make it this.

2 Notes

A quite phenomenal photograph capturing the power of nature
The train tracks of the “Riviera Line” are washed away in Dawlish, amidst evacuations and the declaration of a major incident by Devon and Cornwall police.
According to Network Rail 30 metres of sea wall under the railway at Dawlish Station have been washed away.
Via @Andrew_SW.

A quite phenomenal photograph capturing the power of nature

The train tracks of the “Riviera Line” are washed away in Dawlish, amidst evacuations and the declaration of a major incident by Devon and Cornwall police.

According to Network Rail 30 metres of sea wall under the railway at Dawlish Station have been washed away.

Via @Andrew_SW.

2 Notes

How shoes can tell the plight of refugees in South Sudan
Jensen sat there thinking, “what, this isn’t serious enough for you? Aid workers described it as an emergency within an emergency within an emergency”.
She went through her photos again, looking for ways to make them more effective.
That’s when she noticed the shoes.
About half the displaced people, she noted, didn’t have any shoes at all. And those that did had footwear with stories to tell.
Full story on PRI.
@ColonyClive is a regular contributor to Found Things.

How shoes can tell the plight of refugees in South Sudan

Jensen sat there thinking, “what, this isn’t serious enough for you? Aid workers described it as an emergency within an emergency within an emergency.

She went through her photos again, looking for ways to make them more effective.

That’s when she noticed the shoes.

About half the displaced people, she noted, didn’t have any shoes at all. And those that did had footwear with stories to tell.

Full story on PRI.

@ColonyClive is a regular contributor to Found Things.

1 Notes

Real life sci-fi: when ice attacks

This is just freaky. The video above shot at Izatys Resort at Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota, shows an “ice shove”, where currents, winds, or temperature differences push chunks of lake ice onto land like a drifting iceberg.

@ColonyClive is a regular contributor to Found Things.

2 Notes

Memory loss? Older minds may just be fuller of information
The idea that the brain slows with age is one of the strongest in all of psychology, but a new paper suggests that older adults’ performance on cognitive tests reflects the predictable consequences of learning on information-processing, and not cognitive decline.
A team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany used advanced learning models to search enormous databases of words and phrases. Since educated older people generally know more words than younger people, simply by virtue of having been around longer, the experiment simulates what an older brain has to do to retrieve a word.
When the researchers incorporated that difference into the models, the ageing ‘deficits’ largely disappeared.
The larger the library you have in your head, the longer it usually takes to find a particular word.

"What shocked me, to be honest, is that for the first half of the time we were doing this project, I totally bought into the idea of age-related cognitive decline in healthy adults
"the simulations fit so well to human data that it slowly forced me to entertain this idea that I didn’t need to invoke decline at all."
- Michael Ramscar

Scientists who study thinking and memory often make a broad distinction between ‘fluid’ and ‘crystallized’ intelligence. Fluid intelligence includes short-term memory - holding a phone number in mind, analytical reasoning, the ability to tune out distractions - while crystallized intelligence covers accumulated knowledge, vocabulary and expertise.
In essence, what Ramscar’s group is arguing is that an increase in crystallized intelligence can account for a decrease in fluid intelligence.
In the meantime the new digital-era challenge to ‘cognitive decline’ can serve as a ready-made explanation for blank moments, whether senior or otherwise (PDF).
It’s not that you’re slow. It’s that you know so much.
Full story on the New York Times. You can download the paper here (PDF).

Memory loss? Older minds may just be fuller of information

The idea that the brain slows with age is one of the strongest in all of psychology, but a new paper suggests that older adults’ performance on cognitive tests reflects the predictable consequences of learning on information-processing, and not cognitive decline.

A team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany used advanced learning models to search enormous databases of words and phrases. Since educated older people generally know more words than younger people, simply by virtue of having been around longer, the experiment simulates what an older brain has to do to retrieve a word.

When the researchers incorporated that difference into the models, the ageing ‘deficits’ largely disappeared.

The larger the library you have in your head, the longer it usually takes to find a particular word.

"What shocked me, to be honest, is that for the first half of the time we were doing this project, I totally bought into the idea of age-related cognitive decline in healthy adults

"the simulations fit so well to human data that it slowly forced me to entertain this idea that I didn’t need to invoke decline at all."

- Michael Ramscar

Scientists who study thinking and memory often make a broad distinction between ‘fluid’ and ‘crystallized’ intelligence. Fluid intelligence includes short-term memory - holding a phone number in mind, analytical reasoning, the ability to tune out distractions - while crystallized intelligence covers accumulated knowledge, vocabulary and expertise.

In essence, what Ramscar’s group is arguing is that an increase in crystallized intelligence can account for a decrease in fluid intelligence.

In the meantime the new digital-era challenge to ‘cognitive decline’ can serve as a ready-made explanation for blank moments, whether senior or otherwise (PDF).

It’s not that you’re slow. It’s that you know so much.

Full story on the New York Times. You can download the paper here (PDF).

3 Notes

Random red swings

What started as a fun experiment in Austin, Texas has turned into a grassroots project to hang this common playground fixture in surprising places all around the world.

Walk under a bridge in Austin, Texas, past a temple in India, or down a street in Thailand, and you’ll find a charming red swing (assuming it hasn’t been taken down by city officials).

Each is one of more than 200 swings that volunteers have hung around the world as part of the Red Swing Project.

The project started in 2007 when an architecture student in Austin was asked to design an urban intervention for a class.

"My idea was just to put out swings - like graffiti, just go out at night and see what would happen

"It was always meant to be this grassroots, anonymous initiative… magically discovering the swing and not knowing who put it there is part of the experience."

- Andrew Danziger

He started with five swings in different parts of the city.

Right away, it was clear that each swing would lead a different life. While trying to hang one by the university campus, Danziger was stopped by police, who reluctantly let him continue. The next day, the swing was cut down.

But across town, in a vacant lot next to a bus stop in a lower income neighbourhood, a swing that he hung the same night stayed up for five years.

What a lovely idea.

@paulrgn is a regular contributor to Found Things.

21 Notes

Terrifying volcanic lightning

Photographer Martin Rietze recently traveled to Japan where he had the incredible opportunity - or near grave misfortune?! - of photographing the Sakurajima Valcano in southern Kyushu as it spewed forth smoke, fire and lava bombs.

If that wasn’t enough the hellish volcano also triggered a lightning show that lasted long enough for Rietze to take these stunning photographs.

You can see many more images on the photographers site.

1 Notes

Bill Gates predicts there will be almost no poor countries by 2035
In their foundation’s just-released annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates attempt to debunk three pervasive myths in development economics -
Poor countries are doomed to stay poor
Foreign aid is a big waste
Saving lives leads to overpopulation
From the letter’s introduction -

"We hear these myths raised at international conferences and at social gatherings. We get asked about them by politicians, reporters, students, and CEOs. All three reflect a dim view of the future, one that says the world isn’t improving but staying poor and sick, and getting overcrowded.
"We’re going to make the opposite case, that the world is getting better, and that in two decades it will be better still."

When it comes to poor countries’ prospects for escaping poverty, Bill Gates, who wrote the section addressing the first myth, is particularly positive -

"By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbours and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments."

I’m optimistic by nature. I believe that 2013 was the best year in human history. But for this to happen, 36 countries will have to raise their gross antional income per capita above $1,035.
For many this means a per capita increase of a factor of five.

"It will be a remarkable achievement. When I was born, most countries in the world were poor. In the next two decades, desperately poor countries will become the exception rather than the rule. Billions of people will have been lifted out of extreme poverty. The idea that this will happen within my lifetime is simply amazing to me."

I hope Bill’s right.

Bill Gates predicts there will be almost no poor countries by 2035

In their foundation’s just-released annual letter, Bill and Melinda Gates attempt to debunk three pervasive myths in development economics -

  1. Poor countries are doomed to stay poor
  2. Foreign aid is a big waste
  3. Saving lives leads to overpopulation

From the letter’s introduction -

"We hear these myths raised at international conferences and at social gatherings. We get asked about them by politicians, reporters, students, and CEOs. All three reflect a dim view of the future, one that says the world isn’t improving but staying poor and sick, and getting overcrowded.

"We’re going to make the opposite case, that the world is getting better, and that in two decades it will be better still."

When it comes to poor countries’ prospects for escaping poverty, Bill Gates, who wrote the section addressing the first myth, is particularly positive -

"By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbours and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments."

I’m optimistic by nature. I believe that 2013 was the best year in human history. But for this to happen, 36 countries will have to raise their gross antional income per capita above $1,035.

For many this means a per capita increase of a factor of five.

"It will be a remarkable achievement. When I was born, most countries in the world were poor. In the next two decades, desperately poor countries will become the exception rather than the rule. Billions of people will have been lifted out of extreme poverty. The idea that this will happen within my lifetime is simply amazing to me."

I hope Bill’s right.