Travels and Images
Picture of the Week
Saturday 11 January 2003
Saturday - I didn't do anything. Read some science fiction
and watched tv. Up past midnight, much to the annoyance of the cats! I have
been very 'rundown' as of late and needed some downtime.
Thursday eatery was 'Medranos" - I finally remembered the name. Before that
it was 'El Patron' and 'Margaritaville' and many others that escape me now.
It did seem to have a lot of cars parked out front for a change. I knew someone
who worked at once of the previous incarnations as some sort of rock &
roll eatery - and it was always empty, service was slow, and one day when
she and everyone else showed up for work it was
closed.Not a big surprise.
China has announced plans to orbit an astronaut, and India plans to go to
the moon. Here is a link
showing that they have about the same or more of a GDP now as the USA did
then, and of course about forty years of improvements in computers, materials,
manufacturing, and a vast body of knowledge of how to do it. Probably the
most important of which is the
knowledge that it can be done.
Both, however, seem headed down the expensive dead end disposable rocket
track that the USA and Russia took. It's cost effective in the short term,
as you can parlay expertise in ICBMs into lifters, but the right way to go
is reusable. We started
to change course with the Shuttle, but it turned into an albatross around
the neck of NASA and the US.
Oh well. I sometimes wonder if it was deliberate, that if we took the expensive
'disintegrating totem pole' approach in order to convince others that this
was the only way, and thus slow down the space/ICBM development in other
I think it was Freeman Dyson who said that space would be colonized when
the cost of going came down to the levels that an individual family could
afford, and that time alone would eventually raise the countries GDP to that
Friday 10 January 2003
Friday - more fooling about with insurance companies. Monday
I'll just arrange the work to be done, and let the chips fall where they
Saw an interesting presentation at work, dealing with the effects of mode
shape change on flutter speed. Generally we just play with mass and frequency
changes, but this guy did all the partial differentiation and all the rest.
So we'll feed him some data from the ATW to work with. As my friend said,
"How come we go to someone else's presentation, and we come
away with work items?"
Did some work on the parallel stuff as well. Tried to set up a 'gateway'
and failed. The linux box didn't recognize the second ethernet card for some
unknown reason. Well, it's probably known to someone, but so poorly
documented that you have to be lucky and/or persistent to find out why. The
HOWTO is for Redhat 5.2, circa 1990 or so. Major changes since then...
Thursday 9 January 2003
Thursday - dinner was at, at, ..., well, I forget. It's
gone through six or seven changes of ownership/name. Right now it's Mexican
food, and it wasn't bad. Went for a walk afterwards - it's been cloudy, and
so wasn't particularly cold.
Therapy in the morning. I need to go to a new doctor I think.
Lot's of fooling about trying to track down the insurance company, to get
the pipes fixed.
Wednesday 8 January 2003
Wednesday - another day off work. The plumbers specializing
in leak detection came, worked about five hours, and decided that there are
two leaks, in both hot and cold lines, under the foundation slab in
the family room. I've homeowners insurance, so after the first $500 or so
that should kick in...hopefully.
Tired tonight, not a lot else to say.
Here is a picture of the suspension bridge being build at the Carquinez Straits.
There is still no deck, but the vertical cables from the main catenary cable's
are starting to be dropped.
Carquinez Straits Suspension Bridge, North Side
Tuesday 7 January 2003
Tuesday - not a lot to say. Called a plumber about the
leak - they'll come by tomorrow morning. It was warm and sunny, except for
My dad is still having problems with his wireless - the DSL people say it
isn't them, and the Linksys people tried hard before putting him on hold...
What if 'The Lord of the Rings' had been
told by Hemingway, or Dr. Seuess, or maybe H.P. Lovecraft..
. you might ask. Or maybe you wouldn't...
I was reading a bit on rocketplanes for the X-prize stuff. Out of
dozerns, I liked the Pioneer Rocketplane approach, they seemed to have a
grasp of the problems, i.e., to build a spacecraft to be operable as a plane.
Not sure that I agree with the idea of mixing jet engines and rocket engines
- glide landings work fine, the shuttle and lifting bodies proved it, and
a single propulsion mode is a much simpler concept, which is integral to
simplicity and re-use. They don't give a lot of details, and they aren't
hiring, so I guess it's all vaporware type stuff anyway.
Maybe what is needed is an 'open source' rocket plane...
Monday 6 January 2003
is being added to the page. Apparently ZoneAlarm is adding to it.
Bah. What is it with programs that have to be so intrusive?
The 49er's apparently won on a bad call by the referee. Heh. So it goes.
Got a ride to work, and drove the Probe home. Bought some groceries on the
way, and started emptying out the trunk, finally.
It was very windy today. The KWJF page says 32 knots, the KEDW says 'light
and variable'. I would personally estimate the winds to be 50mph+ for an
hour or two, around noon. Sand grains were being blown off the ground
to hit windows four and five feet up - saltation I think it's called.
Still not king.
Sunday 5 January 2003
Sunday - another rather lazy day. Went to
see LOTR again, with some friends. Watched the 49ers' squeak it out, again.
Another warm day here in the valley.
I found an interesting article on the landing of an out of fuel Boeing-767,
the Gimli Glider
. An amazing story, of the chain of errors that caused it, and of the things
that allowed a safe landing. Skill, luck, planing, happenstance,
design. I am impressed that Boeing could design a heavy that could glide
to a landing, thanks to the emergency ram air turbine for hydraulics,
but appalled that the electronics didn't have a similar backup of some
My father has purchased a WAP, but is not having the luck I had, alas.
Not king yet.
Picture of the Week
Photo Notes:The bell tower at the Los
Banos Junction, rising out of the fog.