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WEEK 48 2004

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Saturday 27 November 2004

Saturday - in the daylight, and with a light that actually worked, my father and I were able to get the pipes back together, with only a small seep. These often seal themselves, particularly with plastic pipes and their ability to slightly deform, so we are going to let it go for now instead of cranking on the pipe wrench and possibly stripping threads. A complete dishwasher cycle leaks about a teaspoon of water.

This is all directly above my office and computer workstation downstairs. Naturally.

Note: I forgot something. Something mean. Something I shouldn't write about - but will. My brother, younger and more dexterous, crawled under the sink and disconnected the wreckage. It was all grotty with about twenty years worth of slime and grease. Once he had gotten everything disconnected he crawled back out, stood up, and turned on the water to wash his hands. The water into the sink whose drain he had just removed... Replacing a sink trap, $5.59 and tax. Watching your brother do something like that...priceless.

My brother and the gang headed back south. The little girl cried at having to leave Peg, my fathers dog...

It seems that my sister K is writing five novels simultaneously. Five. She says she got the idea from Isaac Asimov. Five. Well, I can console myself that she doesn't have a blog.


I see that the author of a book I enjoyed and mentioned here: The Psychology of Sailing, Michael Stadler, is the editor of another book: The Handbook of Implicit Learning. Apparently this is on the subject of why some things are easy to learn. We've all struggled to learn a foreign language, or algebra, or something of the sort, and spent hours memorizing things. Yet some things seem to stick easily, to burn themselves into our brains. I've wondered about this myself from time to time, not being blessed with a particularly good memory. At $150 I am unlikely to go buy it, but it might be interesting to see if its available via interlibrary loan.

Friday 26 November 2004

Friday - staying at my brothers house I've been working, coding, in the mornings before heading over to my fathers. His cat finds a comfortable place nearby and watches as I code, compile, and run little test cases.

The old laptop - a PIII-266 - runs very slowly, but in coding that isn't as important as it might be. There is a lot to think about and research as I painstakingly try to re-create some functionality that I worked on almost ten years ago. A lot of people have touched the codes and it's an odd feeling trying to recreate my own train of thought from the pasts cannibalized remnants. I tend to use a lot of comments and whitespace to aid in legibility - most of the other coders didn't.

In the evening I played cards with the kids. First we played UNO, where I lucked out and won a couple of hands. Then we played GIN, in which I lost consistently. I then tried to cover by claiming at the end of the game that I thought we were still going for fewest points still. The kids thought this a hilarious gambit, but, alas,  didn't believe it for a moment.

There was a bit of a disaster in the evening. The pipe and trap in the kitchen failed - essentially the rust holding it together finally gave out. My brother and I made a couple of trips to the local hardware store but weren't entirely successful in getting it all back together. Still, we have to give thanks that it didn't happen on Thanksgiving!

My other brother called from Arcata. It was, of course, raining there...

Thursday 25 November  2004

Thursday -the guys at NASA have put together a mosaic of images of Saturn's moon, Cassini. To me it looks a lot like the ice shelfs of Antarctica, though it may be floes of wax, not ice, though IANAPS ( I Am Not A Planetary Scientist).

Wednesday 24 November 2004

Wednesday - staying at my brothers. I was in his computer room, checking email when his cat decided to climb his miniblinds. Heh. It was funny to watch, but disastrous for the blinds...

The gamma ray detector, SWIFT, was successfully launched.

Tuesday 23 November 2004
Tuesday - via The Speculist, from 12 November, a link to ideas for performing the famous double slit experiment over large distances in space. This is neat. I once considered doing something like this with the lunar retroreflectors on the moon. I have lot of ideas, few ever put into practice.

Monday 22 November 2004

Monday - home again. Rain in the early morning.

Sunday 21 November 2004

Sunday - In San Diego. A wild night, as a storm blew in from somewhere with thunder and lightning in the early morning. Later, traveling back to Lancaster there was quite a bit of snow on the I-15 and SR-138. I understand that the freeway was actually closed for several hours later in the evening.

Picture of the Week

A duck, walking on water?

Photo Notes: A duck (mallard?) getting excited at being photographed, apparently starts to levitate...

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