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WEEK 40 2004

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Saturday 2 October 2004

Saturday - there were two baseball games of interest, Dodgers versus San Francisco, and Athletics versus Angels. It was a good day for southern California, both the Dodgers and Angels won, in rather exciting games. I feel bad about the A's, they came so close, only to meet up with some fabulous pitching (krod). The Giants may still be in it I think, along with the Astro's, competing for the wild card spot.

It's nice right now in northern California, the weather having cooled a good 20 degree's from when I was here a month ago.

I see that Rutan intends to send SpaceShipOne into space Monday, despite the unplanned roll towards the end of the last mission's boost phase. He, and the pilot, seem to think it safe. It seems odd, but then I'm more used to NASA's excruciatingly cautious way of doing things.

There were several items in the science press a week or two ago about two colliding galaxies imaged by Hubble. I was thinking about that. Each galaxy is supposedly mixed in with vast amounts (10x) of "dark matter" so that dark matter is colliding as well. Can there be any visible results of the dark matter collisions? Normal interstellar gas - thin though it be - heats and begins to give off radio waves and light. Would dark matter? Could spectography distinguish this postulated electromagnetic radiation generated from that of normal interstellar gases? The laws of thermodynamics must apply to this dark matter collision after all. Though what the 'speed of sound' is for dark matter, or what 'gamma', 'Cp' or 'Cv' would be is probably an open question. Do dark matter particles attract each other, as well as ordinary matter? Perhaps the influence of the dark matter on the visible colliding matter would be detectable, a modification of the light paths to us, a 'caustic' effect of some sort?

Note: After reading the above my father smiled, looked over at me and asked: "Does dark matter matter?"

Friday 1 October 2004

Friday - not a lot to say today.

I was thinking about the 'speed of gravity' and galactic collisions. If the speed of gravity is that of light, 'c', then for very large interacting objects - galaxies - there is probably an observable effect due to this. If one were to simulate galactic collisions with diffent values of 'c' and compare these simulations to observed galactic collisions what would we see?

In other news the Athletics lost a game tonight. It's do or die tomorrow!

Thursday 30 September  2004

Thursday - up at my dad's place.

It was a pretty good drive - not too much traffic, decent enough temperature, in the 70's rather than 100's and I had a nice tape to listen to. I got on the road a bit late because of various things. Like the wash, which I think is still in the dryer. Yep, did it, but forgot to put it away in my suitcase. Oh well. Plenty of stores up here. Another delay was an invite to a party this weekend.

Why was that an issue? Well, two neighbors have sons in the military and they've yellow ribbons on their trees and stars in their windows (a custom going back to at least the first world war). And the young men are back, one done with his tour and the other on leave for a couple of weeks and there is a little party for them this Saturday. I would very much have liked to meet them but had other obligations, and spent a wee bit of time composing a letter to that effect. Then I left the letters on the families doors (no-one was home) and continued packing. Later I noticed a car in a driveway and went over and talked to a mother who was very happy that her boy was home. And it looks like they'll be around long enough for me to say "hi" when I get back.

At my dad's place we watched the debates. Frankly I thought Kerry (boo, hiss) crushed my guy Bush (yay, hurrah) like a bug. Oddly the polls today don't seem to reflect that. He clearly lost in my opinion, but no-one thought a guy with a speech impediment would defeat one of the best debaters in the congress, so it's apparently a wash, or possibly minor defeat for Bush amoung the critical swing voters. Time will tell.

Wednesday 29 September 2004

Wednesday - I didn't go to the launch. I set my alarm, 4:00 am, but then fell back to sleep. But I did watch it on the tube, and it was quite heart stopping to see that rolling towards the end. I don't know what it was, but it wasn't good. Fortunately everyone came through OK and congratulations are due to everyone out there in Mojave!

Hmmm. I called it a 'launch', but that's old style thinking. It should be called a 'flight', as it's a completely reusable vehicle!

Not much else going on here. Work. The cats are being particularly annoying. I suspect a female in heat somewhere - not that they can do anything about it.

Tuesday 28 September 2004
Tuesday - working away on the code, looking at normals - point normals, face normals, simple averaged normals, face weighted normals, fried normals, normal creole and much, much, more. So it goes some days.

There was an earthquake in Parkfield today, a good sized jolt of  magnitude 6. Which should delight the scientists who have been covering the ground out there with sensors for decades, waiting for the 'Earthquake Capital of America' to do it's thing under the unwinking scrutiny of their instruments. I think it's a bit delayed, so they must be relieved to finally be getting some data.

Bush Karl Rove anyone? I suspected as much! Heh.

SpaceShipOne (a somewhat egotistical name?) is scheduled to take off tomorrow morning from Mojave for it's first official X-prize attempt. I'm considering heading up there to watch the take off and landing - it's only forty minutes drive (take off is at 6:00 am or so). But I hate crowds and traffic and I strongly suspect there will be a lot of that - and very little control of the same (small town, no police department of it's own, just the county sheriffs). It's also rather windy here today, which means it is probably windier yet in Mojave. Winds tend to calm down overnight, which is why flights usually take place in the morning, but it could still cause a cancellation.

To my surprise there was a computer game inside my pizza last night, I really should look at the covers of the stuff I buy. Or at least when I open it. In my defense: never before have I encountered a CDROM inside a frozen pizza! Henceforth I shall be more wary. I'll probably give this game away, I'm not much into games. Though maybe with pepperoni's?
game cd inside a pizza wrappinggame inside pizza, red baron

Monday 27 September 2004

Monday - we've had calm weather for the most part, warm but not hot. Down below ( the valley and LA proper) they have been experiencing Santa Ana winds. Which are unpleasantly high, dry, warm, and full of pollen. This valley is the place to be this time of year.

I see that a year ago I was reading Quicksilver, and that this week I am reading System of the World, these being books I and  III in the 'Baroque Cycle' series. As in the beginning I was reluctant to start, because I hate for it to end. Interestingly enough, the picture of the week for last year was the Tower of London, which plays a prominent part in SOTW.

Two years ago I had just gotten some stitches out.

In other news my father informs me that the 49er's are 0 for 3, and the Raiders QB, Rick Gannon, just suffered a neck injury that will put him out for most of the season, at the least. No NFL championships for the bay area this year.

It's back:. Mount St. Helens Cam, and maybe just in time for another eruption!. ( via Jerry Pournelle's View ).

Sunday 26 September 2004

Sunday - another nice day spent with friends. Went to see "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow". Fun, if a bit odd. I think the idea is that it's an alternate universe where the second world war never happened. World War I is mentioned, but not how it turned out. I didn't see any calendrical clues - is it the 30's or 40's? But it starts with the 'Hindenberg III' docking at the Empire State Building. Cool. Not many people know that the structure on top of that building was originally supposed to be a dirigible docking station.

We had lunch at the 'Blue Koi' and wandered around Barnes & Noble for a while.

They picked up Volume 11 of  'A Series of Unfortunate Events' . As a practicing engineer I have to say that I am, on occasion, dubious of the efficacy of some of Violet's inventions. But they have to get out of unfortunate events somehow! After dinner chapters 1 and 2 were started, but alas, the white beer caught up with me and I fell asleep.

They are making a movie out of the first couple of books. Hopefully it will be better than the atrocious 'Cat in the Hat'.

Picture of the Week

Sunflowers at Sunset

Photo Notes: Sunflowers & Sunset, on the highway near Three Points.

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