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  • Michael Krakovskiy 1:42 am on July 29, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , army psychologist, , , Gefilte fish, Jewish cuisine, , Jews and Judaism in Europe, , Soviet army, ,   

    Treyf 

    I find Jewish humor to be one of the best ways to explain certain situations in programming. Here are two that I find particularly funny and useful.

    The first is a true story told me by a friend. I use it when I’m told that good web developers don’t use tables. It goes like this: My friend’s aunt met her religious relatives for the first time after coming to America from the Soviet Union. Horrified at being served pork sausage, they told her: “But auntie, Jews don’t eat pork!”. She replied — “Nonsense, I eat it all the time.”

    The second is an old and racist Soviet-era joke. A Chukcha serves in the Soviet Army, and is an exemplary soldier in border patrol. There’s only one problem — he tends to eat patrol dogs, considering them a delicacy (this untrue ethnic detail must have been created to make the joke setup work). An army psychologist offers to correct this. He sits the soldier down, takes out his watch, and hypnotizes him with the words “you are not a Chukcha, you are a Jew. You don’t like to eat dogs, you like to eat gefilte fish.” The patrol dogs continue to vanish even after the hypnosis seems to have worked. Authorities send another soldier to follow the hypnotized Chukcha around. This soldier reports that the Chukcha sits the dogs down, takes out his watch and hypnotizes them with the words “You are not a dog, you are gefilte fish.” I tend to tell it when I’m told that the act of turning a hack into a Drupal module somehow makes it “gefilte fish.”

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:24 pm on October 22, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Jack, , Michael Zinovievich Krakovskiy, Mihai, Patronymic, , , Soviet army, Yakov Zalmanovich Krakovskiy, Zalman, Zalman Mihailovich Krakovskiy, Zinoviy Yakovlevich Krakovskiy   

    Four Generations 

    Digging in old photos I found three pictures of my father, grandfather and great-grandfather, all wearing military or military-style clothing. I took a picture of myself in my favorite NYPD-style jacket and created this list of four generations of my family. Notice the three repeating familiy names (reflected in first names and patronymics)– Mihail/Michael, Yakov/Jack, and Zinoviy/Zalman.

    Lost Generation:
    Zalman Mihailovich Krakovskiy, my great-grandfather, civilian, in his late forties.

    Greatest Generation:
    Yakov Zalmanovich Krakovskiy, my grandfather, Senior Sergeant, Red Army, in his thirties. The picture seems to be taken in front of some crates of Lend-Lease equipment in 1943.

    Baby Boom Generation:
    Zinoviy Yakovlevich Krakovskiy, my father, Lieutenant, Soviet Army, in his late twenties.

    Generation X:
    Michael Zinovievich Krakovskiy, myself, civilian, almost 30.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:15 pm on March 16, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Coder Jones, , food computers, inspector, interstellar travel, jet printing, jet printing method, John van Nostrand, , , , , , Rublev, Soviet army, space pilot, space travel,   

    Thinking About the Future 

    My father-in-law once told me about a group of young guys, all from orphanages, that he met when he served in the Soviet Army. Those kids would talk for hours and hours about retiring on the government pension. I am a little bit like that too – I like to plan my retirement.

    One thing that I’ll do then is write a series of science fiction stories, probably in graphic novel format. Since it might very well be that all the things that I squirrel away in my notes might come true by the time I retire, let me share with you some of my world building.

    The protagonist’s name is John van Nostrand (after a Brooklyn street name). He’s a space pilot from future Brooklyn (or alternative past). His antagonists are pilot Naru Nan, underhero Jackson, supervisor Coder Jones and inspector Rublev. I haven’t worked out the characters much yet.

    Some notes about the future/alternative past. A series of technological breakthroughs accomplished the following:

    Sleep is not necessary anymore. Thanks to a wonder drug or a surgical implant of some sort people no longer have to spend 8 hours sleeping. Sleep becomes optional, and a sort of entertainment, as an REM inducing machine can produce vivid and even lucid dreams on demand.

    Total domination of bacteria and viruses through biotechnological means (no nanotech though). This in turn leads to a revolution in cooking (among other things). It becomes perfectly safe to eat all foods raw. Cooking a steak, for instance becomes mechanized. Lasers sear the outside, while inside can stay pretty raw. Overall, a specialized food computers are used. They can laser-sear, microwave, dry out, mince, liquefy and wrap in special membranes and capsules and produce all sorts of futuristic foods. Many techniques involve “jet printing” ingredients.

    Bathing is now optional, a sort of relaxation as well. A special membranous symbiont is genetically engineered to live inside people’s skins and consumes sweat and toxins.

    Buildings are built by the jet printing method with titanium-containing alloy for strength, as well as slew of ceramic and other materials for insulation and decoration. Ridiculously tall and strong skyscrapers result.

    Huge space cities are built out of towed metallic asteroids, again through jet printing. Real estate on Earth and in space is spectacular.

    I still have many things to decide upon, such as the mode of space travel, politics, and a million other things. There will be no aliens or interstellar travel though. I’m pretty sure about that.

     
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