September 29, 2006

Travis Bickle

Just read Wikipedias entry for Taxi Driver, it was like seeing the movie all over again, except in five minutes.

I gotta get in shape now. Too much sitting has ruined my body. Too much abuse has gone on for too long. From now on it'll be fifty pushups each morning. Fifty pull-ups. There will be no more pills, no more bad food... no more destroyers of my body. From now on it'll be total organization. Every muscle must be tight.

-Travis Bickle

September 22, 2006

Hurricaine watch

I was talking with a meteorologist/geophysicist and brought up the two hurricanes that are out in the Atlantic, heading for Europe. He said we didn't have to worry since there was some cold air and a high pressure system that was going to prevent their entry into Fortress Europe. He complained that a lot of times on the TV news the weather forecasters say that the cold high pressure air blocks the low pressure system. He said that you could equally well claim that the low pressure system, the hurricaine in this case, creates or feeds the high pressure system. It sounds like Yin and Yang I said. Exactly, he agreed, although he did have some fancy technical name for the phenomenon involving the terms pseudogeostrophic and mass. We agreed that it was strange that sea surface temperatures are high enough to feed hurricaines, yet there have been relatively few so far this season.
(Update-- one of the hurricaines was scheduled to hit Portugal today but it ran into some cold heavy air around the Azores yesterday and extinguished itself. The second one, Helene, is still out there, headed for Ireland.)

September 20, 2006

Wikipedia vs. Encyclopaedia Britannica

Nature magazine has submitted a selection of science articles from Encyclopaedia Britannica and Wikipedia to peer review. The experts found numerous errors in both encyclopaedias-- the average science entry in Wikipedia had four inaccuracies, and in Britannica, three. Eight serious errors were found in the articles that were reviewed, four in each encyclopaedia. There were also many factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively.

Wikipedia wins in terms of volume, accessibility and speed, and Britannica is only marginally better in terms of accuracy.

Of 1000 authors of Nature articles surveyed, 17% consulted Wikipedia on a weekly basis but less than 10% helped to update it.

September 19, 2006

The garden

Nice fall weather has given the garden a second wind.

September 15, 2006

Some photos

Here are some pictures from my recent trip to CA and MN. First is a picture of our old apartment building in Pasadena. The grapefruit tree that used to be outside our bedroom window is no more, but the banana is still standing. Next is a look under the hood of my parent's new Prius hybrid. It is a wonder to drive. Finally, a shot of the construction site at Morehouse Park in Owatonna. They are removing the dam and replacing it with rapids. There are clear benefits for the aquatic environment, and they say that the water level upstream of the new rapids will not be changed. That's important because if winters ever start being cold again like when I was a kid, the latent skating rinks just upstream can be put to use. Plus the water level at Lake Kohlmeyer depends on the level in the mis-named Straight River. (Everybody who is anybody calls it 'The Pit', and even though that's where the municipal beach is, it really is a gravel pit and not a lake.) There was nothing special about the old dam, just a concrete slab really. Years ago we would ride our bikes to the park and catch bullheads just below the waterfall.

September 14, 2006

Waiting for the train

Here's where I catch the train each morning. It was fun to see everyone lined up on the other side waiting for the northbound train; I go in the other direction.

September 12, 2006

My first computer

I made a little trip to a conference in California recently and on the way back stopped home in Minnesota. Mom wanted me to clean out some boxes in the basement. There were many dear treasures there that somehow I have been able to live without for the last 17 years. Maybe the funnest thing was finding my first computer, a Timex-Sinclair ZX-80, shown above. Oh, the times we had together, and don't forget the 16 kilobyte memory extension (it's in the picure above, hanging out the back. It wouldn't even hold an empty MS-Word document today). I got annoyed with pressing the plastic dimples on the original keyboard and so I bought a surplus keyboard through the mail. I took apart the treasured ZX-80 and figured out the keyboard wiring and then connected the new keyboard using the same system. Worked great from the very start. I painted all the extra symbols onto the keyboard using little bottles of Testor's paint and a toothpick.

Web Counter
Web Site Counter

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]