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WEEK 40 2005

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Saturday 8 October 2005

Saturday - not just tuckered out from a commute. I picked up some sort of bug - a minor flu it seems, that, after a bit of yard sales in the morning, laid me out for the rest of the day. I hadn't realized I was sick until late evening, just assuming I was tired and dragging...

I think I approve of Harriet Miers. She looks like a Texas schoolmarm, and that's just what the SC needs. Whenever Breyer or Ginsberg gets out of line - whack! - out comes the yardstick.

"You go sit in the corner, mister, and just think about why you shouldn't invent things that aren't in the Constitution. And you, missy,  will write on the board, 100 times,  THERE IS NO PENUMBRA. And I expect your best penmanship!"

Friday 7 October 2005

Friday - working down at Sand Canyon the last couple of days. I'd forgotten what a commute both ways on top of an 8 hour day feels like. Yuck. I'm tuckered out...

birds circling

Thursday 6 October  2005

Thursday - lot's of heat and smoke about Bush's nominations of Miers to the Supreme Court. Of course the reason it's such a big deal is that the legislature has abdicated their responsibility to decide things such as Roe, or Raich, or Kelo. They leave it up to the SC to make a decision based on 'stare decisis', penumbra's and 'the living Constitution'. They posture for the voters and interest groups - but never actually get around to the hard work (that might annoy some voters and cost them donations from the PACS and 403's) of actually pushing for a clear and specific law. So who is sitting on the SC becomes more and more important, politically, to both parties.

Watched the new Night Stalker. Not as good as the old - though here and there you hear echo's of the original catch phrases. Not much humor either, which was a big part of the whole thing.

Watched Smallville as well. Clark Kent and Lana Lang get romantic, finally. I guess you can't have a prime time show without teen sex any more. Too bad.

Wednesday 5 October 2005

Wednesday - took my morning walk, did OK. Lost a little skin off my heel though. Talked to my friend last night about the hike, his foot is out of the cast and it's 50:50 as to whether it'll be up to the Grand Canyon by November 1st. After talking about the hike (and I need to get out my pack and start organizing it!) we then discussed real estate, the supreme court nomination, and the possible biological basis for morality...

It looks more and more like the new Oklahoma explosion was a failed terrorist attack on a stadium. It also seems that TATP isn't anything to fool around with (though I, for one, encourage bombers to keep on trying):

"The stuff can detonate simply from the friction of its crystals rubbing against each other."

Tuesday 4 October 2005

Tuesday - watched San Diego almost come back from an 8-0 deficit in the first game of the divisional playoffs. It ended up 8-5, so they shouldn't feel too bad. The west, in both leagues, is considered the weakest. The color commentator was terrible by the way - an ESPN game I think. Though most of them stink.

Vin Scully is OK.

Another attempted phishing, this one attempting to get at paypal customers. It looks like a legitimate email, from Paypal to customers, to have them "verify" their account - but if you place your cursor over the any of the links:

you see a different webpage address:

Phishing attempt
Click to see more of the bogus page.

I forwarded it to the real Paypal - - with the title "Phishing Attempt" and they shortly emailed me back, telling me not to give these scammers my info, and telling me that no legitimate organization will ever ask for account name and password. Duh. There are also "toolbars" that can identify these things, if you feel like installing them.

Hopefully they will also send their crack team of ninja assassins after these guys. In California, as of Friday, there is a law making it a civil offense to "phish" and allowing one to prosecute to get back damages. Apparently it's not even a felony  to try, yet. Though, now that I think of it, isn't it a felony to conspire to commit a misdemeanor?

From the group, on the Bristol 32, a truly mean comment:

The Bristol 32 itself is old-school, full of trim needing varnish and
would make a good liveaboard for a divorced 55 year old living with a
cat, a crate of whisky and no clue as to what's happened, but maybe
it's something chin stubble and a fisherman's cap can solve.

Maybe the writers of  "House"  will get him a boat...

Monday 3 October 2005

Monday - took a short walk, only 5 miles, as my feet are still recovering from the 7.5 mile walk of a couple of days ago. Sunday I did a 15 mile bike ride out into the west valley. The trail bike really isn't suited for riding on the roads. The top speed is too slow - with the wind behind you it's possible to fly on a road bike, but not on the trail bike because of the gearing. It does have advantages - coming back against the wind it's possible to gear down a lot. Which is what actually eventuated.

With the trail bike one also has a better feeling of security when going over the various dirt roads, gravel, and construction debris that litter the west Antelope Valley.

There was an ad on teevee, for $19.95 you can get enough UrineBeGone to clean your whole house. Good god.

Book #38 is David Drake's The Way to Glory, which is more military Sci-Fi. Obviously someone at the local library likes this stuff more than I do. But it beats the unicorns and dragons fantasy genre. Ugh. Anyhow, it's an attempt to merge Napoleonic sea stories with advanced interstellar technology, via 'sailing' hyperspace, with an aristocracy,  an Admiralty, officers on half pay, and so on. Jerry Pournelle essentially started this style of depicting an Empire, but he's a historical scholar and his thesis was that perhaps a monarchy and empire might prove to be more long lasting than a republic and democracy.

Book #39 is John Vigor's 20 Small Boats to Take You Anywhere, 1999. Vigor reviews a number of small boats, from the Cal 20 to the Westsail 32, and discusses their suitability to long distance cruising.  For the most part the boats are what you would expect, traditional full keel (though often with a cut away forefoot) fiberglass sloops, built to a heavier than usual specification. He talks about the general specifications - length, displacement, etc; then the boat hull, it's sail form, sailing qualities, and gives a rating, in his opinion, of it's safety-at-sea factor, a PHRF speed rating, and a comfort factor, and finally a review/anecdote by an owner. 

The safety rating is his own - it's probably reasonably accurate as Vigor is obviously knowledgeable, but it would have been nice to see the Capsize Ratio (which you can get here!) and Ultimate Stability Angle in there . His rating puts the least safe boat as the Catalina 27, and the most safe as the Bristol Channel Cutter 28. Since each boat has it's own chapter, and the chapters come alphabetically by boat model name, you have to read the whole thing to know the safety rankings. Which, if you enjoy reading about boats, isn't necessarily an onerous task.

Sunday 2 October 2005

Sunday - Reported 10th planet Xena has moon name Gabrielle. [via Curmudgeon's Corner]

"Since the day we discovered Xena, the big question has been whether or not it has a moon," Michael Brown, of the California Institute of Technology, said in a statement. "Having a moon is just inherently cool -- and it is something that most self-respecting planets have, so it is good to see that this one does too."

Emphasis mine. Original statement - geeky scientist's.

I went to see Serenity, the movie follow-on of the teevee series Firefly. Pretty darn good! Two thumbs up!!

I'm a bit puzzled as to the geographical makeup of the universe portrayed in it - is it a single solar system, or a multiple star solar system, or is there interstellar flight involved? The last would make more sense because there are references to dozens of terraformed worlds, but would involve FTL travel. As well as FTL communication.

Went out to dinner with my brother M and friends. Had a couple of Zombie's - harder liquor than I usually drink, but I didn't have to drive :-)

Picture of the Week
DDG-88, the USS Preble, passes the CVN-76 USS Reagan

Photo Notes: From the flight deck of the USS Midway, the USS Preble (DDG-88) passing in front of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).

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