Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

The Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, located in downtown Ocala, has been in existence as long as I can remember and I've been in Ocala for 13 years.  The name itself gives rise to questions rather than answers, but the institute is all about finding answers.  

Inside this building, "a group of scientific researchers assembled from around the world collaborate on projects ranging from predicting cyber attacks to helping patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) communicate with the world around them.

"The complicated nature of their research requires exceptional minds from almost every scientific field ... [who] have come together under one roof to help solve some of the most pressing problems facing mankind today."

Here are just two examples of the people working at IHMC:  Dr. Bonnie Dorr, the IHMC Associate Director, earned her Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-founded the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing Laboratory at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Yorick Wilks, a Senior Research Scientist from London, attended Cambridge University and earned his Ph.D. in philosophy.

Other scientists working at IHMC have similar credentials and we are fortunate to have this institute here in Ocala. 

[Note:  Thanks to Ocala Style magazine for much of this information.]

Monday, January 29, 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Fit Pod - Trilogy Preserve

This "Fit Pod" was recently completed to allow Trilogy residents the possibility of getting "fit" to a whole new level.  It provides a number of exercise options, including a variety of bars, steps, wall climbing, and a small hill climb.  Surrounding the Fit Pod is a special track created from material which will allow runners a safer and softer running experience.

And to top if off, so to speak, are several canvas covers which offer protection from the sun, pooping birds and falling bugs! 

Friday, January 26, 2018

The machine that changed the world

When computers first made their appearance in our commercial establishments, I was one of the old fuddy-duddies who said they'd never work. How could a computer figure out the price of a product faster and more accurately than a human person with a high school education?

As you know, I was really wrong. I was very wrong. I was totally wrong. It wasn't long before schools and business offices and professional institutions began to use computers. And computers got better, faster, more accurate.

One of the last professions to adopt computers was the medical profession. Just a few years ago when you went to the doctor for your annual physical, he/she would check you over closely, ask you various questions and make notations in your file which sat on a little desk or in his/her lap. You'd get kneaded and prodded and poked and rubbed and when it was over you'd go to the front desk and pay your bill.

Nowadays, when you get to the doctor's office, the nurse comes in, turns on the computer which is hanging from the wall or the ceiling, and while inputing your information, asks you a few questions, takes your blood pressure and temperature.

If you have any new complaints the computer lights up and starts clanging and banging and the nurse starts typing madly. Nah, I just made that last part up. But when the nurse is done you are told the doc will be right in. These people should be politicians the way they lie.

After an hour or two the doc rushes in the door, says "Sorry, I'm so late," and  sits down in front of the computer, checking what the nurse inputted, and then says, "Any questions?  OK, you're looking good. See you next year."

You walk out the door and go home. Two weeks later a bill arrives in the mail, somehow ejected by a computer into a mail slot where it is then picked up by a postal service employee and sent via a computer modified vehicle to your house.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

"Hey Underlings....?"

Cleopatra is not so patiently waiting for her subjects (underlings) to run her a warm bath. But I have a feeling she will not jump into the water if that happens.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Silver Springs State Park - The Village

The first photo above provides a better view of the museum, classrooms, etc., all of which are used extensively by educational institutions in the area.

The photos following show some of the buildings that comprised this 19th century village.  The first is a home, the second is a blacksmith shop, the third, which I originally thought was a school, seems to be a church what with the cross on top, and the last, "Cracker Cow Camp," I'm not sure about.

Some of these are originals, others have been created recently.  But they do offer an interesting look at how people lived in this part of Florida a couple hundred years ago.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Silver Springs State Park

Once upon a time in Ocala, Florida, there was a Silver Springs Amusement Park (next to a large water park) which involved glass bottom boats, a petting zoo, jeep rides into the woods with various animal encounters, other boat trips down offshoots of the Silver River where you would see an old Indian encampment, a military fort, the set for a TV show, and much more. Several large bears were kept in another enclosure. There were a couple gift shops, and a large ride next to the Silver River that would spin you around until reaching the top some 30-40 feet above the ground. And during the winter, you could attend concerts by some of the best entertainers in the world.

This amusement park gradually fell apart, beginning with the construction of the Disney attractions to the southeast in Orlando.  It couldn't compete.

At this same time, just down the road, was the Silver River State Park. This park offered trails into the hinterlands, a trail down to the Silver River, canoes and kayaks, biking trails, cabins for rent, spaces for RVs, picnic areas and a museum along with several old buildings, either restored or recreated to resemble life in the area in the late 1800s.

Not long ago, the two parks came together when the State of Florida bought the old amusement park. Together, they are now known as the Silver Springs State Park. There are small tandem trucks to carry people from one area to the other. 

The old Silver River State Park has not changed much and we visited it the other day. We walked down to the river (a little over 1/2 mile each way) and needless to say, took a lot of photographs. When you drive into the park, you'll notice just north of the parking lot is a group of buildings which contains a museum, class rooms, storage areas, etc. That's what you see in the first photograph above. The second photograph is a shot of the middle of the area, and the third shot is an artsy photo (by Lois Anne) of a large live oak tree, which shows how big those branches are. In the distance you can make out some older buildings and we'll be showing more of that encampment in the days ahead.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Jacob's Ladder?

Not Jacob's ladder. I photographed this young lady at Bed, Bath, & Beyond. As I recall she was looking for a particular product for a customer. When she looked around and saw me, it appeared she was angry, but then broke into a big smile and said she wished I had let her put on her makeup before I took her picture!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Advertising Gas Pump

This is a gas pump located at one of our local stations. Some moron in marketing got the bright idea that customers would love to watch the news and ads for various products while pumping gas.  And the customers, of course, are a "captive" audience...it's perfect. 

Not all of the gas stations in Ocala do this, but it's becoming more popular so I expect to see additional stations adopting the idea as time goes by. 

For a guy who mutes every ad that shows up on my television, this drives me crazy!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Z.O.R.T. Zombie Outbreak Response Team

This vehicle is from out-of-state. Although I wasn't able to interview the driver, it appears we have had a Zombie outbreak here in Ocala. But I'm not worried. If the people who own this truck see this post, I'd suggest they head to Washington, D.C., where dead people walking is a common sight!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A Contextual Textual Conversation

This slice-of-life was taken at the Gainesville, Florida airport.  The young man appears to be leaving on a jet plane as he has gone through security and is in the arrival/departure lounge.  The young lady, with whom I'd guess he is familiar, is in the area reserved for those who are awaiting someone's arrival or watching someone's departure. 

These two could not hear each other through the window, so voila! they were saved by technology and could "converse" through their smart phones.  It worked pretty well from what I could tell.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Beginning of a Forest

I understand that some of my blogging friends have had a hard time posting comments on this blog.  The problem has been resolved, I believe.  If anyone has difficulty posting comments or with anything else related to this blog, please let me know ASAP.  Thanks much!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Old, Good-looking, Green Truck

Don't see many of these around anymore. I'm at a loss as to the make (Chevy?) or year of this truck. Any ideas?

Remnants of Fall - 2017

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Springs at Silver Springs

These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago.  Surprisingly, there were a lot of visitors present, most of whom were from out of state.  As you can see this is the main area of interest with some restaurants and souvenir shops.  It is also where the glass bottom boats dock to take on and unload passengers.

If you were in a boat and went to the right side of the dock area, you would find the famous spring 50 feet below.  You would also see some artifacts left in the water from various movies and TV shows that were filmed here.  "I Spy," was one of them, a James Bond movie, and many, if not most, of the Tarzan movies were filmed in Silver Springs.

But it's the springs that make Silver Springs what it is.  The cave at 50 feet below gushes forth with about 1/2 million gallons of water every 24 hours.  That's enough water to quench the thirst of New York City for a day.  The water is 99.9% pure and is at 72 degrees Fahrenheit year 'round.

The water becomes the Silver River which feeds into the Ocklawaha River, and then into the St. John's River and finally into the Atlantic Ocean.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Matching Mustangs

It seems rather appropriate that one of our neighbors, whose house is located adjacent to a large horse farm, should have twin Mustangs sitting in their driveway. Of course, these particular Mustangs are made by Ford. They just appeared one day "out of the blue," as is said. I think they are quite handsome.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Azaleas in December?

These azaleas were planted in the median of the main road into the Trilogy resort about two weeks ago. Azaleas are hardy and thrive in our climate but I'm curious where the maintenance people found so many in such beautiful shape...love those reds!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Light at the End of the Tunnel

In spite of what has been said on occasion, people living in The Villages can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Party Time!

I posted a photo similar to this one a few months ago.  This is a large space in the line of shops which make up the Silver Springs commercial area, and is just across from where the glass bottom boats board visitors.

In all the years I've visited Silver Springs, I've never noticed this space.  Now, it appears to be used for various large events.  In my previous posting, I believe it was staged for a wedding reception.

That maybe the case here but these colors are more Christmasy than wedding.  The photo was taken after Christmas but I have a feeling it had something to do with that holiday. 

You can get a glimpse of the boarding area and one of the glass bottom boats in the reflection.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Wagon Wheel Benches - Brownwood, The Villages, Florida

The Villages is a huge municipal complex, consisting of three main "hometowns" and hometown areas. The first was Spanish Springs; then came Lake Sumter Landing; and relatively recently, Brownwood. I'm not certain of the statistics as The Villages continues to grow at a rapid pace, but suffice it to say that there are probably some 50,000 homes and many more people and just as many golf cars. 

Brownwood has a western theme and so the downtown area resembles an old west town, which is rather funny, because we are about as far east in the United States as one could get!

At any rate, wagon wheel benches are part of the "western" theme and thus you'll find a number of them in the Brownwood downtown.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Steve's Downtown Music

Steve's Downtown Music is located in the central Florida city of Deland. It's been the place to go for CDs, records, movies, posters, shirts with music themes, magazines, etc., since the late 1990s.

Deland is an interesting city and the home of Stetson University.  A few years ago, someone asked me how Deland got its name.

Well, I explained, back in the 1890s, a couple of Europeans on a pleasure cruise, but really looking for a place to settle down, disembarked near what today is Daytona Beach.  They decided to go for a walk.  They headed west and walked and walked and walked and finally came upon a most beautiful city with a downtown, a courthouse, a playhouse, a movie theater, a university, a Walmart and several saloons.

These two explorers were stunned.  One of them blurted out, "Are you sure this is de land?"  And the other, tired and grumpy from their travels, said, "Well, it sure as hell ain't de sea."

And so the city was called Deland ever after.

And that's the truth.

Friday, January 5, 2018

A Not-so-dumb Duck

At first I thought this was one of those dumb ducks; that it would soon go head over behind in these wee falls.  But then I noticed, this duck isn't so dumb; it's standing in shallow water and isn't going anywhere.  (Unless the duck behind her gives her a shove!)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Buick Called Rudolph

This poor car needs help.  It thinks it is a reindeer and goes by the name of Rudolph.  You can see it has had plastic surgery to attach antlers and a red nose.  I wonder if there are psychiatrists who work specifically with Buicks or SRS (Santa Reindeer Syndrome)?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Ditch Witch

If you needed a ditch dug, which digger would you choose? Would you select this Witch Digger to dig your ditch, or another Witch Digger? I know there are different kinds of ditches and different kinds of ditch diggers, but that's about it. So, if I needed a ditch dug, I'd probably choose this Witch Digger. Which Witch Digger would best suit your ditch? If you needed a ditch dug.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Studying, eating and talking

This young lady was seated in the cafe area of our local Barnes & Noble book store. She was talking on the phone and carrying out other activities at the same time. What a fascinating society we live in.

I read an article today which noted that our social media, e.g. Facebook, has become for many an addiction which is almost impossible to break.  Facebook and other social media were created to be addictive.  And once you're hooked, it's almost impossible to break free.

How many times a day do you check your smartphone?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Beeg Bus!

We ran into (metaphorically speaking) this beeg bus on SW Highway 200 in Ocala the other day. At first I thought it was a large RV, but upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a bus that transports singers, or other entertainers, from one town to another.  Or it may have been a tour bus, one of thousands that haul the elderly to Florida's casinos where they gleefully watch their money disappear in slot machines.

Clearly, the driver was in a hurry, charging down the highway, darting in and out of traffic; I thought surely he/she would wipe out several smaller cars before he/she got where he/she was going! :)

My father was a careful driver and he often said he'd rather be known as Mr. Anderson late than the late Mr. Anderson.  Not a bad motto in these days of crazed drivers and road rage.
"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." — Henri Cartier-Bresson