Travels and Images
WEEK 31 2006
Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week
Picture of the Week
Saturday 5 August
- I went out early to mow the lawn, and the grass was wet. That' was a
puzzler - the sprinklers weren't due to come on for another couple of
hours. After a bit of thought in which I considered that perhaps the
wind had blown the neighbor's sprinkler emissions onto my lawn I
realized that it was dew. In Lancaster. In August.
So I went to the grocery store instead, bought a couple of steaks and
beer, and various other assorted other items that caught my fancy.
I thought I needed to change the oil in the Probe, but realized that
I'd confused a 6 with an 8 on the little mileage sticker. Like most
places Quik Oil has not yet begun making allowances for the aging eyes
of baby boomers. I expect that the style will soon change to larger
buttons on car radios, larger displays on cell phones, and eventually
even somewhat larger print on those 2 inch square stickers.
These days I find I am squinting to read the TIVO display on my 27"
teevee, from only ten feet away. My eyes were checked earlier
this year and my prescription hasn't changed, but even corrected my
visual acuity is significantly less than 20/20. And low light just
makes things worse.
This is cool. Using X-rays to decipher more of the Archimedes palimpsest [via Curmudgeon's Corner].
I saw an episode of Nova or some other science program, a while back,
where they talked about using UV and IR to decipher it, but this stuff
is advanced even past that, on ongoing this week.
Update: I did need the oil changed. I pulled the sticker off and held it closer to the optical input assembly. Got that done.
Friday 4 August
Friday - I had a
bright idea today - it does happen occasionally - and figured out a way
to speed up the loads analysis significantly, while reducing computer
time and space needed. I'd already pestered the Sun system admin into
adding a hard disk to one box next week, but really needed two machines
upgraded, and the second wouldn't be ready for nearly a month. That's
too long - they want to cut metal soon and can't release the drawings
to the machinists before they've been analyzed for strength so I am in
danger of turning into the long pole in the tent. It's better to be a
short pole, hence the search for quicker solutions.
Next week there are preflight safety and engineering briefings for
another project, and a third (big) project that I am dynamics lead on
up. Plus there is a paper to be written by April next, and passed
through the NASA review process. Yikes! Gotta get the desk cleared of
this old stuff.
I'd go in and work on my idea tomorrow, but the center is without power
this weekend, so next week it is. And my brother Bob is coming down
from the bay area to visit so I'll be busy anyway.
The boat is coming along. They want to put it in the water next week,
which suggests they will want to be paid about that time. Heh. But I'm
looking forward to actually sailing the boat. I'm also dealing with the boat insurance (again) and the boat title people, but that seems like it's progressing.
Book #33 is Dave Duncan's A Rose Red City.
Not too bad. Duncan's a decent writer, and things are generally
well plotted and move right along. It is fantasy of the 'City in the
Center of Time' genre, wherein our hero ventures out from the safety of
the city into the surrounding demon filled shadowlands. I stole borrowed it from my brother while pet sitting the other day.
Thursday 3 August 2006
- dog sat "Duke" for a couple of hours on the way home. Mostly I sit
outside and read, and occasionally throw pine cones for him to retrieve
and chew on. Sometimes I chase him, and try to take the pine cone - he
likes that, and I never
get the pine cone. I gave the cats some moist food, the turtle a couple
of shrimp, the fish some flakes - then I got to go home and feed myself.
Busy day at work. Lot's of meetings and telecon's.
Book #32 was Nathaniel Philbricks' Sea of Glory.
Very enjoyable, but occasionally disturbing. It is the story primarily
of Charles Wilkes, the person in charge (Lieutenant, Captain or
Commodore?) of a six ship around the world exploring edition. Was he
Captain Cook, Captain Queeg or Captain Bligh? A combination of all of
the above, really, though I wonder how much those stories and
personalities informed Philbricks' reading and research of Wilkes. An amazing
voyage and effort nonetheless, ruined by pettiness and vanity, and
almost lost to history. Yet the lawsuits, the vanity, the overweening
pride - these are familiar from the other histories I've read of the
early 1800's, military and otherwise. Duels and lawsuits were common
in the US Navy for example. But Antarctica, the Coral Sea, the Columbia
River and parts of Oregon, all superbly charted by tiny (sixty foot)
sailing ships. What a voyage!
Wednesday 2 August 2006
- an afternoon in the control room, monitoring a loads test. My effort consisted of pushing an "event marker" button when told.
My other effort consisted of trying to track people down for the
abstract we are trying to deliver to the AIAA. I failed. And will try
again tomorrow. You should see the number of flagged signature locations - they are all color coded and it looks like a bouquet of flowers.
My minor effort consisted of trying to get NASTRAN to run in the tiny
disk space. No luck. In fact things have gotten worse - I now get
"permission denied" errors. WTH?
Went by my brothers' house and dog sat for an hour or so while he's on vacation.
Tuesday 1 August
Tuesday - a long day. In the control room
from about 6:30 to 1:30, then a debrief for another hour. Things went
reasonably well for a first test, just some of the expected
instrumentation and calibration issues.
But I'm tired - I think I've picked up a minor bug somewhere. Not enuff to keep me home though.
Monday 31 July 2006
Monday - crew brief in the afternoon, for
tomorrow's flight. I offered to help the static's load guy, as we were
overmanned on the dynamics side anyway. But it's different.
I managed to fill the hard drives on both our Sun servers with my
finite element jobs. It's not hard to do - the disks are minuscule -
all the users' have to share 10GB of disk. It's like it's 1998 or
Sunday 30 July
Sunday - down at the boat, doing some
minor work. A seacock, a bilge pump line. Brought down a little radio
and enjoyed a moldy oldie station as I worked...