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WEEK 4 2004

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Saturday 24 January 2004

Saturday - today there was a memorial service for a friend's son. He died young and my friend is dealing with this unimaginable (to me) pain so very bravely. She had pictures at the service, of J as an infant just home from the hospital, and as a child, a small boy, a bigger boy and as a young man. How hard it must have been to assemble that collage.

Later we went to a friend of hers for coffee and cookies and stayed a bit late. I ended up tutoring the friends stepdaughter in algebra. The kid knew the individual bits but was just having trouble organizing them, so I could help there. The impression I get of today's math curriculum is that the books are better than when I was a student, but that the teachers are somewhat worse. On the other hand I tutor one-on-one, and can interact easily to see where and what a students problems might be. In a class of thirty five it probably isn't possible. But it's sad to see a smart little girl thinking she is 'dumb' and 'stupid' when all she needs is a bit of guidance.

I arrive home just a bit too late to catch the Opportunity Mars landing, which went off well.

Guess I need one of these.
clock that tells Mars time
The Mars Clock costs $150 for an 8" dial and $175 for a 12" dial.

Friday 23 January 2004

Friday - partial communication with 'Spirit'. Which is good. If the controllers at JPL can access the diagnostics onboard there is a good chance they can fix almost anything. Those guys are good.

Tomorrow 'Opportunity' hits mars, at 9:05 PST.

from tvspy:
The NASA rover Spirit roams over Mars. It takes 30 minutes to move 10 feet. It's officially classified as a government worker.

Thursday 22 January 2004

Thursday - apparently NASA has lost contact with the 'Spirit' rover. What a bummer. Mars is hard - two out of three missions have failed, historically. It has a twin, 'Opportunity' scheduled to land the day after tomorrow, at 9:05 PST.

From Slashdot:
"OK, so the Spirit rover rolls into a bar. Rover says to the bartender 'excuse me,' bartender ignores him. Rover again says 'excuse me,' bartender ignores him. Martian says to bartender, 'Why don't you answer him?' bartender says 'I know that type, all they ever want is water."

Wednesday 21 January 2004

Wednesday - my friend needs to sign a couple of pages for the thesis before I send it off. I wasn't able to contact her today though.

Interesting safety presentations today on the X-43 and Helios mishaps, for the 'safety days' here at Dryden. Actually the X-43 was sort of raced through and I'd seen and heard the conclusions before but Helios was interesting because of the unusual flight regime and configuration.

The presenter, a long time test pilot here at Dryden keep stressing the need for full up nonlinear 6DOF simulation tools - which is exactly what STARS is.

Tuesday 20 January 2004

Tuesday - hand therapy, and then back to work. Backing up various and sundry machines, and trying to track down that stubborn transformation problem.

The professor in Wales emailed back: "Make a good copy of the thesis on American 8.5"x11" paper, send it to us, we'll copy it onto A4, bind it in A4, and send you a bill." Works for me.

Monday 19 January 2004

Monday - the Patriots won on Saturday, meaning that I have to root for the Panthers  when the Superbowl finally comes around.

Dropped off an old computer with a friend who wants to learn to use the internet. I'll set her up initially with JUNO, for the 10 hours a month free service. From there she can decide what to do. She was a little surprised that you could use a computer without being connected to the internet. Heh. How times change.

Sunday 18 January 2004

Sunday - still feeling poorly but went out for a bit.

In other news my friends child has found a wizard who "knows how" to fix the laptop. OK. I ain't a complainin'. She was off in another town and called me long distance to complain that I hadn't returned the power brick.

"Look in the laptop bag pocket."


Picture of the Week
Courthouse in Auburn California
Photo Notes: While driving from the San Francisco Bay area up to Reno a few weeks ago I stopped in Auburn, in the Sierra Nevada foothills, to buy chains for my Explorer. I never found the chains but I did come across this wonderful old brick courthouse and stopped to take a picture.

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