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WEEK 13 2004

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Saturday 27 March 2004

Saturday - a nice warm day. I watched a bit of tv, did a bit of engineering work, and a bit of yard work. I think that I will try to get out and do an hour or two a day in the yard - that should bring the house up to snuff in a month or two.

The X-43 flew yesterday, and this time successfully. Or, as far as I can tell it was a success. It was supposed to fly under scramjet power for about ten seconds. Without seeing the telemetry I can't tell whether the engine produced thrust or not, but at least the rocket booster didn't go out of control. I spent a lot of time analyzing this vehicle last year, so it's good to see it fly.

Update: At this web page there is a statement that the vehicle experienced net acceleration under SCRAMJET power, which is good. Of course it also refers to air as "fuel". Air contains an oxidizer (oxygen) and the vehicle had onboard a small tank of fuel (hydrogen) and the two were combined and burned in the engine.

There isn't any image here. For some unknown reason the image won't download from the NASA web server. Hmmm.

Cleaning out my old files I found a joke poem, Ode to a Spell Checker. It, and variants of it, (author unknown) are online all over the internet:

Variant 1

Ode to a Spell Checker

Eye halve a spelling checker
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marks four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye striks a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me a strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My checker tolled me sew.

Variant 2

Owed to a Spell Checker

I have a spelling checquer
It came with my pea sea
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot sea

Eye ran this poem threw it
Your sure real glad two no
It's vary polished in it's weigh
My checker tolled me sew

A checker is a bless sing
It freeze yew lodes of thyme
It helps me awl stiles two reed
And aides me when aye rime

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud
And wee mussed dew the best wee can
Sew flaws are knot aloud

And now bee cause my spelling
is checked with such grate flare
Their are know faults with in my site
Of nun eye am a wear

Each frays comes posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to be a joule
The checker poured o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule

That's why aye brake in two averse
By righting wants too pleas
Sow now ewe sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear for pea seas

Variant 3

Eye have a grate come pewter,
the lay test gnu pea sea;
it will a cyst me two low Kate
Miss steaks eye can knot sea.

This peace eye rote is rite, eye no;
my trustee check err tolled me sew!

Variant 2 is closest to the type written copy I have, but not exactly the same. There is probably some scholarly paper to be found in comparing all these - fortunately I am an engineer and not an english student!

Ok, the spell checker didn't like the poetic or britishisms. I also mis-spelled fortunately in my own text.....

Friday 26 March 2004

Friday - spent the day meeting with people for work in Sand Canyon, a few miles south of here. Not a lot of interesting news there - I am going to try setting up port forwarding to allow better access to some computers behind a firewall - after all, I was am a certified unix systems administrator, I should be able to do that, right?

<crickets chirping>

Right? Anybody?

And set up to allow some secure transfer protocols - Telnet and FTP are just too dangerous these days.

My friend Tim was there, so he came and stayed the night at my place instead of driving all the way back to San Diego. We all went out to dinner at...um...Medrano's and had a good time. I didn't have any beer - Thursday night I had two Corona's and woke up in the middle of the night with a headache!

Thursday 25 March 200

Thursday - not a lot of free ice cream today, either. Dinner was at the Olive Garden (forty minute wait) Outback(twenty minute wait)  El Torito's.

Wednesday 24 March 2004

Wednesday - too busy to post, sorry.

Tuesday 23 March 2004
Tuesday - there are a lot of discussions about Maxwell's demon on line. Just do a google search. I once read a fairly long essay on why most of the 'refutations' of the demon's practicality are incorrect, but can't remember just where.

NASA had a good/bad day. The rovers on Mars are performing superbly, and today NASA reported that the evidence supports the theory that Mars once had standing water! Remarkable. Then, they have to announce the same day that critical speed brake mechanisms were installed wrong in the Shuttles, nearly 20 years ago, and that it too this long to find - by accident - this out. Ouch.

Be careful of what you ask for. I was bemoaning the fact that a GUI that I use is missing a certain capability. So one of the maintainers sent me the source code, in effect saying: "have at it." I'd forgotten that it had it's own unique C++ graphical gui toolkit, along with FORTRAN, C, and OpenGL.

Best time so far for Demon Balls : 156.

Also there is a game with penguins. And who can resist a penguin game?

Monday 22 March 2004

Monday - a dorky game, but harder than it looks: Demon Balls. Safe for work, as long as the boss lets you play online games at work! You could always say that is was research on the thought experiment concerning Maxwell's demon.

Put in another day of work - it's hard to work in the late afternoon and early evening - too much noise.

Watch the second half of 'Fellowship of the Ring' in the late evening. All the extra footage in the extended edition was interesting...but not required.

Afterwards I went out for a nice walk under that stars. No moon, lots of planets.

Sunday 21 March 2004

Sunday - mowed the back yard, worked at the computer for about six hours, cleaned up in the garage and house somewhat, read some sci-fi, and in the evening watched Disk #1 of  the extended edition of "The Fellowship of the Ring".

I had to turn on the air conditioner, as it was about 90 out again. I'd been using the central cooling, but that gets expensive. So I turned on the swamp cooler, even though the pads are old and need replacing, and it worked well enough.

The Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) which comes out, well, daily, had a  picture of the Spring Equinoctal sun substantially better than mine...

Picture of the Week

Sunset, a day after the spring equinox
Photo Notes: The Spring Equinox was Saturday, but I didn't get out and get this picture until Sunday evening, so it isn't quite the equinox. But the setting sun is almost aligned perfectly with Avenue K, here in Lancaster, California.

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