pirate edself with corona captain ed
Travels and Images

WEEK 22 2004

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Saturday 29 May 2004

Saturday - a quiet day. I went to yard sales in the morning with friends, but they weren't particularly good today.

Today I've been reading 'My Old Man and the Sea' - I actually bought it several years ago and only now am reading it. Two men - a fat89999999999  - damm cat on the keyboard - a father and a son, essentially circumnavigate South America via the Panama Canal and Cape Horn. A pretty good afternoon's read. At one point the father reminisces about sailing with his brother, who did not trust his navigation while on a sailing trip to Bermuda:

On the morning of my predicted landfall, I came on deck at first light. My brother was at the tiller. Less than a mile to leeward was the Queen of Bermuda, exactly parallel to us, harbor bound and dead slow. In her wake, a mile astern, ws the Empress of Bermuda, dead slow. "Well shit, they're lost too," I said, and somehow this irritated my brother.


In other news I am house sitting my brothers place - the cats and the dogs. The dog was supposed to be in a kennel, but made such a fuss that the owners kicked him out after 15 minutes...

Friday 28 May 2004

Friday - Is it sunny or cloudy at the Mt. Wilson solar observatory? In any case it was a windstorm in the AV again, gusting to 35mph or more. No yard work today!

Troy, as formatted for Instant Messenger. (Download now!) Heh. Worse than Powerpoint.

Thursday 27 May  2004

Thursday - worked a bit on the flower bed again (no wind storm for a change). It's looking better - quite a bit of work remains however. I need to paint under the window box structures where gray concrete is exposed, and need a lot more bark and potting soil.

flower bed after weeding and planting

Dinner was at the 'Red Robin' down in Palmdale - decent but somewhat expensive burgers.

I left at six pm and got home about 9:30, to discover someone had egged my truck out front while I was gone. Only two eggs, one of which had missed and hit the driveway. I washed everything off right away, but it has reawakened my desire to put up a surveillance camera. Then I can track them down and kill them tell their parents. Except that I have reservations about spying on my neighbors - at that point it's better to leave and live in the countryside and not have neighbors! I guess it's just surburban life.

It reminds me of something I read a week or two ago about a 'tagger' being interviewed on the radio, talking about how it's an expression of art and individuality and free speech and blah blah blah. When a listener phoned in and asked for the taggers address he refused to give it, because he lived with his parents and didn't want their house hit.

Wednesday 26 May 2004

Wednesday - since as 'self employed' I now have to do quarterly taxes in a few weeks I was naturally curious when I ran across a page comparing tax burdens across the states I immediately checked to see where California ranked. I was sure it would be second or third place. Wrong.

State & Local Taxes: 24th @ 10%
Federal & State & Local Taxes:  10th @ 29.1%

Worst state: New York @ 32.8%
Best state: Alaska @ 24.2%

It still stinks to pay so much. ( tip of the hat to sneaking suspicions ) If you look at the numbers it's pretty even across the board - 25%-33% anywhere you live.

Tuesday 25 May 2004
Tuesday - did some work clearing weeds in the front flower garden. Filled the greenwaste container. I had a friend's ten year old son as a helper, whose cheerful and industrious presence made the hours go by quickly. There is a lot left to be done though.

From the Volokh Conspiracy, with regard to new measurements of the size of the universe:

Oh, good heavens:

The universe is apparently "at least 156 billion light-years wide", even though it's only about 13.7 billion years old. (Thanks to Dan Gifford for the pointer.)

Yes, I know those zany scientists have their own zany explanations. But between this and strings and umpteen dimensions and Schroedinger and his poor cat, I'm finding the elephants and the turtle to be a more and more appealing alternative . . . .

The elephant and the turtle reference is explained quite entertainingly (and thoroughly) here.

The Discworld series is hysterical, by the way, though I've only read the first five or ten myself.

Here is a random Discworld quote generator - and a picture of the Great A'Tuin.

My Random quote:
 "There's a door"- "Where does it go?"- "It stays where it is, I think."   --Eric

Monday 24 May 2004

Monday - I was thinking about medicines, and nanomachinery the other day. It occurred to me that one way to target specific areas of the body would be to bathe them in some sort of radiation - not necessarily dangerous in any way, but to serve as a signal to nano-agents in that area to do their thing. In other words, to release a medicine, or absorb a hormone, whatever, in a specific area (say, the prostate) subjected to low energy microwaves. I don't really follow the nano stuff in the scientific press, have never even read Drexler's book, so it's probably an old idea.

In general, how would a microscopic device know it's position in three dimensions? One can imagine some sort of 'Local Positioning System' in which the nanodevices pick up some sort of EM signal and decipher it to get their position in a manner similar to the current Global Positioning System, but on a much more limited scale. Since the devices themselves are small the EM radiation would need to be of a very small wavelength - very high microwave and above. And that wavelength doesn't really penetrate water solutions that well. And then there is the signal processing load imposed on the nano-machine. On the other hand the signal sources would most likely be fixed and a lot of the overhead associated with the GPS signal would be eliminated.

Sunday 23 May 2004

Sunday - visited with a friend at a Thousand Trails campground down in the San Angeles mountains. I wasn't really eager to go - years of  "real" camping with backpack and blisters miles into the Sierra Nevada's have made me intolerant of "car camping".

But it wasn't bad, really. For one thing it's a private resort - there are strict rules and regulations and they are enforced by both the park personnel and the clientele. Because they pay a lot, and want the best experience they don't put up with the public park levels of annoyance. So, while there was a pool, and a store, and ducks, and a miniature golf course it was still quiet, clean, and the coyotes and hawks were there to be seen. My friend's relatives were both teachers and their children were polite and under control. We walked about a bit, had some barbecue, and watched the marine layer from the Los Angeles basin fight it's way up the canyon at sunset.

Very relaxing.

Picture of the Week

Clouds from a plane
Photo Notes: The clouds over the American midwest, as seen from a jet aircraft, some years ago.

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