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Saturday 19 October 2002

Saturday - working in the yard, cleaning up around the house.

I was thinking, watching the World Series game, that television is all about conflict. Obviously the cop shows and the reality shows reflect this, but so do the game shows and the news. Science fiction - conflict again. Drama and sport as well. Cartoons, again mostly conflict. Even the commercials are all about overcoming some terrible problem with the aid of some product. Was it  always this way? Before tv, maybe before radio, was there this incessant sense of battle? Certainly books existed before the rise of modern media, with Sherlock Holmes, Ruggle's of Red Gap, and Dracula all providing fodder - but at a much lesser level of intensity. If there was a psychohistorical  science what would it tell us about what this barrage does to us? Nothing good I imagine.

There's been another sniper shooting, this one farther from Washington D.C. - what did the media think would happen when they reported that there would be military surveillance planes over the D.C. area? And did someone in the police or media tell the media or did they ferret it out?

Friday 18 October  2002

 Friday - the finger infection really worried people, so I ended up going down to Van Nuys to have a doctor look at it. Another day off work, alas. So now it's antibiotics and hydrogen peroxide.

On the bright side, I went by Fry's, just a few miles away. It's fun to wander around, looking at the new shiny stuff - there are some really cool cases for example, with glowing lights and stuff. I didn't actually buy anything however. There isn't much I really need, right now I have more hardware and software than I can deal with. Which is good.

While sitting waiting in the doctors office I was reading Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis . It is really a continuation of Isaac Asimovs Foundation series, though he uses different terms for the people and places. Set many many thousands of years in the future, the 761st century, it deals with the problems of a member of the ruling elite, a psychohistorian, one who can predict and influence history through mathematical analysis. I'd have to give it three or four stars out of five - the characters were a little flat (but then so were Asimov's) and the resolution is a little too quick and pat. It's not a bug-eyed monster sort of space opera - there are no aliens at all, and the book deals, much like the original, with questions of history and culture.

Thursday 17 October  2002

Thursday - all work. Dinner at The Olive Garden. Without a lot of the group present it was rather quiet.

Tired of telemarketers? Here is a script on how to waste their time!

Wednesday 16 October 2002
Wednesday - spent a great deal of time at the therapist, which means I worked late as well. So I'm tired.

Megapixels matter in digital cameras. Steve of   Steve's Digicams does an excellent digital camera review site, and has taken a picture of the back of the same building (among other things) with each digital camera he reviews. It's a brick building, with levels of finer and finer detail resolved as the cameras have gotten better.  I've wondered for a while what the sign on the door at the top of the stairs said - my old Olympus D370 (1280x960: 1.2Mpixels) and the Olympus C-304 0 (2048x1536: 3.2Mpixels) didn't have enough resolution, but the Canon Eos-1D (4064x2704: 11Mpixels) does. I don't have one of those, and prefer the smaller lighter 'point and shoot' cameras, but it's fascinating to watch the evolution of this technology. I calculated once that a 16 Megapixel camer should be a 35mm SLR equivalent. There isn't really any reason that I know of to stop there however - you could, in theory, have medium format or even large format resolution resolution in the same form factor.

Tuesday 15 October 2002

Tuesday - back to work. Kept fairly busy all day.

In the evening I went by the surgeon, to get, I thought, some antibiotics for the finger. Instead he grabs the button, cuts one side of the suture, and yanks. But he doesn't stop there. He looks at the pin and says "As long as you're here..." - and  picks up some pliers! Yup, pin free again - and I hardly cried at all.

There is a good collection of the Vandenburg launch here . Boost, separation, and the later plume as seen in my own shot below, but from a different angle. Very cool!

Monday 14 October 2002

Monday -  a fairly satisfactory day. No work, a visit to the bookstore, the Giants won, the 49er's won, my brother came and retrieved his dog, talked to an old friend who called to say: "Hang Up and go look outside!". It was pretty cool:
minuteman launch
This is a minute man launch out of Vandenburg  AFB,  as  seen  from  a  hundred  miles  or  so  away.

Sunday 13 October 2002
Sunday -  a nice quiet day. Mostly a mix of football and the Monk marathon on the tv. My finger hurt a bit, a small infection on the back apparently.  

There are at least three major bridges going up in the San Francisco Bay area, the new Carquinez Straits Bridge (suspension), the new Benecia Bridge  (truss?), and the new Bay  Bridge (Cable Stayed).  Parts  of the Bay Bridge failed during an  earthquake  in  1989, and was repaired, but  they have decided to replace it.  It wasn't a particularly  attractive bridge,  and that is something they  also  hope  to  fix.


Picture of the Week

    bridge under construction

Photo Notes: This is the catenary cable bridge going up across the Carquinez Straits, just east of San Francisco. The older bridges can be seen in the background. The cables are apparently still being strung, as you can see wheels hanging from them, but there is no bridge deck yet. That's a bit hard to seen in this picture because the deck would be at the same height as the older bridge decks', to avoid rebuilding the bridge approaches.

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