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WEEK 10 2010

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First Post, 17 March 2002
Eight Years Ago, This Week, 2002 Seven Years Ago, This Week, 2003 Six Years Ago, this week, 2004 Five Years Ago, this week, 2005 Four Years Ago, This Week, 2006
Three Years Ago, This Week, 2007
Two Years Ago, This Week, 2008
One Year Ago, This Week, 2009

Saturday 13 March 2010
Saturday - Windy. Very windy, in fact. Dad's wind meter clocked in a 25mph at one point - and that's using a 2 minute integration. Gusts were certainly higher. Weather Underground report here.

How high? The Finch Sack feeder blew away, right off its hook. So I have to buy another, or better yet get a more permanent type of feeder. My brother bought a version that uses a metal screen, much more durable than the fabric type. Seed eating birds have no problem biting through the fabric I have noticed.

Several places have picked up on the dubious nature of the claims against Toyota, Megan McArdle (among others) noting that the claimants are disproportionately old, short, or immigrant. The immigrants thing is weird, but old and short issues reflects the trend that led NHTSA to dismiss the claims against Audi a decade or so ago as people just hitting the wrong pedal.

But the stigma lingers, and it is likely that the issue hurts Toyota sales, for a while.

There was an LPAC performance of The Vienna Boys Choir. Pretty neat, actually. The Choir has been around for quite literally centuries, being founded in 1498, just a few years after Columbus made his first trip. I'd never been to a boys choir recital, but was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of music, ranging from Mozart to Leonard Cohen.

Friday 12 March 2010
Friday - still working away on that spreadsheet. For some reason I was thinking "600 rows" and was disappointed to discover that there were 800. Bah. A lot of stuff missing, too. Well, I didn't assemble this data, I'm just putting it into a spreadsheet format.

The file transfer program on the Linux box doesn't seem to have a real default directory - it just puts stuff where ever it happened to be last, unless you change things. Thus, blog posts have gone astray...

Book #13 was Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra, by John Derbyshire. I picked this up a while ago, but have been so busy that it's been a chapter a week for quite a while. Derbyshire wrote Prime Obsession, which I enjoyed last year (#49, 2009) and this was excellent as well. It was even more of a survey than the first book, but necessarily so since it starts with cunieform tablets circa 1800 B.C. and continues right up to 2005 A.D..

It's probably not to everyone's taste, but I enjoyed it, and am painfully aware that I didn't understand big chunks of it. Like Prime Obsession it could use a re-reading or two...someday. Recommended.

Thursday 11 March 2010

Thursday - Working away on some spreadsheet stuff. Not very exciting...

Regarding the posting on Byzantium l(modern Istanbul, Turkey) last week -  I grabbed some satellite images from Microsoft's Bing, to compare with the map of the ancient city.

From Wikipedia, last week:
From Wikipedia, general layout of Constantinople.

The walls were 13.5 miles around - 22 Kilometers.

From Bing, a satellite view:

Istanbul, modern view

From Bing maps, the Theodosian land wall is clearly visible, outlined by a green belt.

The Theodosian wall, a closer view from orbit, near the round grassy park at left center -

Theodosian wall, from orbit
Constantinople, the Land Wall towers are clearly visible. The Fifth Military Gate, perhaps?

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Wednesday - Home again. Working at home takes a bit of getting used to - in particular the cats are real pests. It's just a matter of time until I get accomodated to the environs again, but in the mean time Big Stupid Cat is a lot more popular than he actually cares to be.

Book #12 was Destroyer of Worlds, by Larry Niven and Edward Lerner. This is a sequel to Juggler of Worlds (#36, 2008)  and Fleet of Worlds (#10, 2008). I didn't like the series all that much at the beginning, but it is now growing on me.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Tuesday - back at work. Cleaning out the apartment in Ventura of a last few items. Didn't even stay in Ventura overnight - turned in my keys.

I did have dinner with friends, at Rubio's, before heading home. Fish taco's - not too bad.

Monday 8 March 2010

Monday - still sick. Bah. Did a more of cleaning up and putting away.

Apropos of last week's Air France posting, another instance of supposed problems with "fly-by-wire" would be the Sudden Acceleration Syndrome that Toyota has been tagged with recently, with their cars inexplicably runing away, flat out at high speed, killing their occupants. In older cars, before the 1990's roughly, there was usually a mechanical linkage between the throttle and carburetor/fuel injectors. Now the pedal position is read by a transducer of some sort, sent via wires through a computer, and the computer sends signals to the fuel injection system. Obviously there is a peril of failure in any complicated system - but I have my doubts.

My mother was a good driver. She had only a single accident in her life - when she stepped on the gas while parking, instead of the brake, and ran into a wall.

It's easy to step on the wrong pedal, and a lot of people have done it. Toyota is under the gun, but it's necessary to remember that the Obama Administration and Democratic Congress have a vested interest in ruining Toyota's sales - after all, Obama is now the de facto CEO of GM and Chrysler, competitors to Toyota.

Sunday 7 March_2010

Sunday - Still sick. Humbug. I was sick last weekend as well - this isn't fair. If one must be underemployed then it's only right that your weather and health should allow you to enjoy some free time...

Book #11 was Harpist In the Wind, by Patricia A. McKillip. I checked it out of the library - this is the third and final in the RiddleMaster trilogy. It's good reading, though an attentive reader will have guessed who the mysterious High One is by the time everybody sits down in Nero Wolfe's the Morgul's study. Anyway, the trilogy is recommended.

Written in 1980. Wow, feeling old here...

Picture of the Week

Performance of Recent War Movies
Photo NotesHow well the current crop of war movies is doing - a lot of red ink. Only Three Kings
has ended up in the black.
Hurt Locker might, but it's early days yet.

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