Travels and Images
WEEK 52 2003
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Picture of the Week
Wednesday 31 December 2003
Wednesday - New Years Eve.
I spent a great deal of time yesterday trying to straighten out the boat situation. I won't bore you with details but there are a great many people devoted to separating me from my money where the boat is concerned and to strangle any joy out of sailing. I'm ready to be done with it all and donate the damm thing to charity.
In other news, although the world is not actually speeding up, it is
no longer slowing down either.
We watched a particularly lame documentary last night, on the sinking of the U-352. We watch as the intrepid divers descend to investigate the mysteries of the dangerous wreck. Only, well, it isn't. The water is so shallow you can see the sunlight. The wreck has been picked clean by souveneir hunters and the investigators conclude, after one dive, that there was no hull damage from depth charges. In another they conclude that the diesel engine was damaged - but since it couldn't be used under water this is a pointless conclusion - and then they don't bother to go throught the effort of checking the electric motors or the batteries which are of interest.
In point of fact, what happened was that the sub was caught in shallow water and sunk by depth charges. It happens. The log book of the sub hunter is available, and there were survivors from the sub. The documentary trys to lay blame on the skipper for being too aggressive. Duh. All submarine skippers of the era - German or American - valued aggressiveness above all.
Tuesday 30 December 2003
Tuesday - I was talking to my dad about his days at San Francisco State, way back when. One of the professors that he remembered was Dr. Pockman, who although enthusiastic about demonstrations of physics concepts was not...er...proficient at some of these. To illustrate the concept of the conservation of angular momentum we are often shown the example of a skater bringing her arms closer to her body to spin more quickly. Leonard Pockman apparently fell over while demonstrating that in class. Heh. At another time my father was ejected from his class for replying "Evil Spirits" to a physics questions posed to the class. Hah - it takes more than a professor to scare a guy who had been fighting U-boats in the Atlantic and Kamikazes in the Pacific a few years earlier. Which isn't to say that he didn't deserve ejection.
But, apparently, there was a more serious side to Pockman. In the 1950's, during the height of Sen. Joeseph McCarthy and others the California Board of Regents decided to require an Oath of Allegiance and a disclaimer of membership in the Communist Party. When many refuse, some are fired, he being one of them.
article at San Francisco State
from the Daily Californian
the free speech movement archives
There is also passing mention of a concern to the professors - that the yearly oath would impose upon their tenure...
Monday 29 December 2003
Monday -coming up on the end of the year. I really don't have any resolutions in mind - generally that is pretty much a waste of time.
I went to see "Return of the King" again, with a brother. I saw more in it the second time - Elrond, for example, seems to have a telescope on his desk. Perhaps this explains the reputed excellence of elf eyesight?
Everyone is talking about the chance that Jackson may do a remake of "The Hobbit". Bah, a childs book. Really. I suggest instead "The Silmarillion" or "Lost Tales" - lots of meat there, lots of battles won and lost, villians, and so on.
But better editing would be nice.
Sunday 28 December 2003
Sunday - the Oakland Raiders showed us again why they are not playoff contenders this year. Bah Humbug.
Saturday 27 December 2003
Saturday - the 49'ers showed us again why they are not playoff contenders this year. Bah Humbug.
Friday 26 December
Friday - a merry day after christmas. Not a whole lot going on here of interest.
Thursday 25 December 2003
- Christmas day. A Merry Christmas to one and to all.
Wednesday 24 December 2003
Wednesday - went to work, but they let us go home early. For me that was the start of the drive up north. It wasn't a bad trip, there was a bit of rain, and some traffic along the way but not the stressful trip it sometimes is. I got in at my Dad's at a reasonable hour, though rather tired.
Since my fathers house was full I stayed with one of my brothers who lives nearby.
Posting will be quite light for a while, too much to do!!
Tuesday 23 December 2003
- more work on the code. It's quiet at work, but not empty. We did get
a lot done, and I think significant issue were worked out. Let us hope.
Not much else going on. Wrapping a present, getting ready for Christmas in general.
Monday 22 December 2003
Monday - tired. Had a visitor in and
spent a lot of time documenting how to change from a certain type of
control system formulation to another. Sounds hard? Heh, think how I feel about it... We are proceeding apace however.
Today was the winter solstice, by the way. Here is a page about Newgrange, an ancient observatory, it's reasons for being and technology. Click on the photo's link - there are some cool, free, images available there on line.
I can remember, when younger, being confused at the idea of an
observatory without telescopes. Now I understand much better - some
people back then, just as today, had the irresistible urge to stand
around in the dark, shivering. Some things never change.
Sunday 21 December 2003
- cleaned around the house a bit, wrapped a small present or two. Went
to see "Return of the King". What an amazing movie. I'll have to see it
again. The battle scene was incredible. The elephants and the winged
Nazgul. I never could quite imagine the pterodactyl creatures as being
particularly threatening until the movie - wow.
But it's interesting - no two people read the same book they say. The
director concentrates on the fall of the tower of Barad-dur and of the
gates of Mordor, and certainly, they are in the book. But what of the
vast rising of a shadow in the east that the winds blow away? That was
always, to me, a more powerful image. He just put a different
emphasis on things... Other times it is clearly an effort to
'streamline' what is already an long and unwieldy ( 3.5 hours ) movie.
Denethor's character was, as one reviewer put it, "mugged". The city of
Minas Tirith is well done. The Army of the Dead...hmmm, not sure I
cared for that change. Eowyn's character is played fairly
straightforward, and my date thought her battle scene the best in the
Picture of the Week
Photo Notes: This is a picture of some object created with the STARS program a while back. I think it sort of looks like a Christmas star.
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