Travels and Images
WEEK 44 2004
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Picture of the Week
When cleaning up last week I hauled dozens
of books up to the "library" (which is just a spare bedroom with
bookshelves on all the walls, right up to the ceiling, and a chair).
But I left a lot of "books to read" downstairs - the number being
limited by the space available, which was about a yard of shelf. I
counted them yesterday - fifty two of them. Fifty two. Where am I going
to get the time? Sure, 'Kiowa Trail' will just take an hour or so, but 'Proofs and Refutations' will probably take a complete week's evenings, at the least. 'Self Sufficient Sailing' will take a couple of days, 'Labyrinths of Iron'
the same. And I keep meaning to read more on aeroelasticity and finite
elements, graphics and parallel processing, spaceflight and physics, math, history, science.
Not to mention books on my upstairs shelfs that I haven't opened in a couple of
decades, 'Sword at Sunset' for example (a favorite of my paternal grandmother), or 'The Last of the Wine'. The list just goes on.
You know, it's really not that bad a situation to be in. Lots to look forward to.
Okay, so I said last week that the Edward's primping video wasn't important. I still say that. But - with the proper editing and sound track - it is hilarious: The Choice.
Computers and Engineering
When I went to resurrect my old 'Hobbiton' beowulf cluster earlier this year I found that the first two machines I tried to use - Bilbo and Sam,
had died. Later I used their carcasses - er, cases - to build other
machines with new mainboards, new harddrives and so on - those $45 mobo's
and cpu's bought off Ebay for example. Last weekend, while cleaning up,
I decided to check on the other (unused) boxes and found that their old ABIT BP6 motherboards booted. By putting the hard drives of Sam and Bilbo
(which I had saved) into the working boxes I now have a 4-node cluster
available to me again. An ancient, slow cluster of Celeron 350's, but
at the least some of the s/w I wrote should be on them somewhere. It is
all a mixture of Redhat 7.1 and 8.0 using RSH and PVM, with the Intel
Linux for Fortran compiler.
Friday 29 October
Friday - cat blogging:
Phoebe takes it easy in the sunshine..
An reader's entertaining review of a history book at Amazon.com:
This book is badly written, and the language is completely foggy. This
guy can go on and on about a simple concept, and jeez it's almost as
though he is ranting on about the first thing that comes to mind in big
words. His writing technique seems to be to interrupt every sentence w/
foggy off the subject information in perenthesis. By the time you
figure out what the hell he is talking about, you forget what the
sentence was about in the first place. Have you ever talked to someone
who began telling you a story but then interrupted it 85 times w/ other
small events? It's like that. Must he include EVERY thought that came
into his mind while writing?
- turns out that the clouds broke Wednesday night and I took some
pictures of a moon myself - Luna, undergoing an eclipse! The new
digicam was the camera of choice, with it's 18x zoom. I was still
unfamiliar with the manual settings mode, so these are mostly
autofocus, but really quite amazing.
Early stages of lunar eclipse, about 25%
Lunar eclipse, about 65%
Lunar eclipse, about 95%
27 October 2004
Wednesday - wow. Here it is, Titan in all it's glory! Congratulations to the people at ESA and NASA who made it happen! And there will be a probe down to the surface soon.
Saturn's moon Titan, as seen from the Cassini spacecraft
Tuesday 26 October
Tuesday - working away on things.
Mid afternoon held an unpleasant surprise - a friend called to say that
her daughter had come home from school and surprised someone
burglarizing their house. She apparently came in one door and they left
by the other, at the same time. Fortunately no-one was hurt, nothing
was taken, but it's a shock. The sheriff, upon receiving a call, at
first refused to send anyone out to a teenager alone in a vandalized
house as the burglars had seemingly left. Lazy or incompetent? I was the first adult there and stayed most of the afternoon.
I have a very low opinion of the sheriff's department in this town, as I've said before.
Pouring rain this evening.
Why Yellow Journalism is a Good Thing:
There's been some talk about missing Iraqi explosives in the news. As I
suspected, it was an untrue last minute hit piece by the New York
Times. The explosives were last seen under "seal" by the UN a month before the war started - the UN having refused to destroy them despite requests from their own inspectors - and were already missing by the time the Americans came through some weeks after the start of the war.
Although sad in some ways to see the Times burn it's credibility to the
ground, maybe it's a good thing. Open and obvious partisanship makes it
easier to detect and allow for bias. Yellow journalism has returned,
yes, but it's absence was only a momentary aberration in the American
It is better to know a bitter truth: media news is about entertainment, politics and money; than to live believing in a comfortable fantasy: media news is about "truth".
Monday 25 October 2004
Monday - the new digicorder is
interesting. It's really two devices in one body. The first is a
digital camera of 1.3 Megapixels and a 18X
stabilized zoom. WhooHoo! It records stills or MPEG to a SD card. The
second device is a mini-DV camcorder, which records to digital tape.
The still camera has it's own software - ZoomBrowser EX, and downloads
via a USB2.0 port. The camcorder uses Pinnacle Studio 9 SE, and
downloads via a separate Firewire (1394) port. It's an amazing machine.
It reminds me, in some ways, of that over-under 22/410 survival rifle I lusted after as a teenager.
Still running the jobs, though, can't use the camera s/w...
Sunday 24 October
Sunday - busy, but not in expected
ways. I was expecting company so spent some time cleaning and such. But
they had to cancel so I'd the day to myself.
So, watched football, visited with some friends in town, and took
the new digicorder out to Apollo Park for some footage there. Ducks,
hawks, various people on bikes and skateboards, planes and helicopters
from nearby Fox Field. It was a nice afternoon out. But when I got back
I couldn't download the pictures - my computers were running flat out
on some big CFD jobs and there wasn't enough RAM available to run the
camera s/w, even with the big jobs suspended. I've a gigabyte of RAM,
so that gives you a clue as to how big the jobs are.
Sigh. Later in the week maybe. I've figured out how to download stuff, but now I need to learn the video editing s/w.
Star Trek: Enterprise was on in the early evening. I think this is a
repeat of an episode airing earlier in the week, it is definitely a
episode from this season, but I'm not sure when. It aired on
Wednesday's last season, but that spot is now filled with one of these
generic soap operas that appear to have transitioned to the evening,
Orange County, One Tree Hill, or something. I don't watch them, but,
like the "reality" shows they seem to appeal to people. 'Dallas' was
the first of these, really it's sort of odd that it took this long to
Ok, went to the UPN schedules page, and the Enterprise now airs on Friday night.
Sailing related pic - again - surprise! This is a Catalina 22 on a
trailer, somewhere at a gas station along the I-5. Looks like quite a
tow. I've thought of getting a trailable boat from time to time, but
I'd need more than the V-6 in the Explorer to pull something like this.
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