Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

A Modern Good Samaritan

Suppose you were walking in your hometown and you came across a bundle of cash lying on the sidewalk. What would you think? For the past six or so years, residents of Blackhall Colliery, England haven’t known what to think. They have been finding neat packages of 20-pound notes, worth as much as $2,600, in

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The Hidden Trap in 2020

I’ve seen several warnings — when you write this year in a date, don’t abbreviate it. Sometimes it takes me a while to catch on, but now I understand. Simply writing “20” is an invitation to tampering. For example, you’ve just borrowed money. On the contract, you wrote the date as 1/8/20. If you miss

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Putting a Lid on Highways

We are a mobile society. In fact, some would say we are addicted to our cars. Our interstate highway system is one of the engineering marvels of the modern age. And yet… Controlled-access multi-lane, and especially elevated, roadways cause serious collateral damage. They split neighborhoods and upend property values. But as our highways are getting

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Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

From the “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” department — last year I leased a hybrid car. My original motivation was because it has all the latest safety features, an important consideration as I age and my reflexes decline. But the nicest advantage is the fuel economy; I got over 57 miles to the gallon on

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Speaking of New Decades, Remember Y2K?

Not only is this a new year, this is a new decade. Speaking of new decades, I’ve been surprised at the number of news articles revisiting the Year 2000 problem at the turn of the century, otherwise known as Y2K (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem) . In case you don’t remember or are very young, as we approached the

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Happy New Year!

Tomorrow is the start of another year, in fact, another decade. Since this is a good time to reflect upon our lives, not to mention a good excuse to party, many traditions have arisen over the millennia to stimulate our celebrations. If you’ve ever wondered how some of these traditions have originated, The Writer’s Almanac

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How To Build On Mars

Assume you’re an astronaut flying to Mars sometime in the near future. When you finally arrive (after a trip of anywhere from 150 to 300 days), where will you stay? Someone is working on that. Suppose a robot with a 3D printer went first, gathered local materials, and printed the Martian base’s infrastructure before any

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