Saturday, November 25, 2006

Weird things abound

I should have known it wouldn't be long before other uses were found for the manifold usb connections installed on modern computers. Enjoy more coffee, closer to your desk.

That just looks funny to me, more than wrong. A funny thing happened to me a few days ago when I met with one of my students. We were discussing some of the finer points of federal aviation regulation when I showed him my certificate (that's not my certificate, but it looks like my certificate). He flipped it over to the back and he remarked hey, it's the guiness guys!

Of course, it's only Wilbur and Orville but what does that matter?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The end of the power cord is near

(But we may have the power strip a little longer)

We've got wireless keyboards and mice, wireless internet and keys (same idea, different application) and now, possibly, wireless power.

So we lose the cords, which is great, but I think this means a lot more power outlets. It's hard enough to figure out which power cord goes to which device, but sometimes two devices use a similar enough cord so you can manage. If your wireless power adapter is set to one mobile phone and not the other, you obviously cannot get by with only one power source; If Jen and I both use a Nokia phone, we now need two outlets dedicated to phone power. I guess this is technology creating new problems, but the new possibilities are exciting. Imagine a power manager in your kitchen (essentially a great power strip hidden from view) that gives power to appliances on demand. Simply pull your mixer or blender out of the cabinet and use. No plugging in. [Thanks to /.]

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Corporate logo visible from space?

I wish I was the first to find this or that I could say I saw this from the air, but all I can do is let you read it for yourself: the Colonel, visible from space.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Flying has a few casual privileges

One of them is what you learn about air and sky. The sky, really, isn't too complex but it does confuse because we don't live in it; flying helps take away some of that confusion. One unfortunate misconception is that the sky is not fluid. We tend to equate fluid with liquid, but gases move as fluid too. If you had a million small pebbles they'd also exhibit fluid flow in some capacity, but who cares really?

Because we tend to misunderstand (that sounds so wrong post-Bush) the fluid flow of the sky, I think we often miss out on some of the neat things in the sky. Given enough sky-watching I think you'll see some really cool things.

Did you know clouds like to move in waves? This is easier seen from the air, and vertical movement from the heating air mass tends to distort our view, but on some relatively calm days you can see that clouds like to form in rows as though at the top or bottom of waves.

Have you ever stopped to watch clouds roll? If you've mixed two separate liquids together you can see them roll about before they mix. Clouds do the same rolling about as heat pushes them up and the air cools off.

Today I witnessed for the first time a cloud "dropping". I had often seen clouds rising upward because of heat but had never actually seen one appearing to drop. The appearance is quite surreal and hard to believe because it happens both quickly and slowly. It's as though someone is fluffing out a sheet on a bed in slow motion, or if you could watch ice cream melt away at high speed (which Jen would never allow).

It's a bit hard to describe, but as I watched it occur it seemed both logical and wildly mysterious. As I checked heading and altitude and turned back to the right to watch the cloud's descent I almost didn't believe I had seen it.

You should get up and see it for yourself, or if you can't just do a little cloud-gazing when you're out.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I absolutely love my new MacBook Pro

and almost every thing about it, especially the very cool things like this. In fact, I could create a long list of things I love about my macbook, but that would do nothing but bore you; I'd rather share this one thing I absolutely cannot stand. Apple decided it likes the brushed aluminum look on the pro models (other models are plastic), and it does look quite cool, but one thing apple must have forgotten. My fingertips.

Specifically the index finger of my right hand. The tip of it hurts. A few thousand times a day. With some lingering irritation and dry soreness prevailing at other times. Sometimes when I wake, it feels like I rubbed it against sheet metal for hours on end the previous day. Oh, that's right, I-did, I-did rub it along my aluminum trackpad a few thousand times the previous day. And a few million times the previous month.

But no big deal. I can punch and track with other fingers, I've got nine remaining. Now I'm off to solve today's LA Times Sudoku. And afterwards, hand lotion.

Word to your moms, I came to drop bombs

I hope you've had the opportunity to see this guy on tv. Nevermind that he looks like the colonel, his campaign adverts are the best ever. In case you've missed it totally, his tv spot runs something like this:

[Dark background] Illegal immigration is a weapon of mass destruction waiting to happen [mushroom cloud in red engulfs dark background]... join me to get rid of [the incumbent] who voted for civil rights and for amnesty for illegals [many images of poor aliens, most mexican]... many have fought and died for this country, let's not give it away.

Now, I may be wrong on a lot of things, including politics and political motivation, but it seems a bit excessive to equate mexican immigration with nuclear detonation. I won't deny that immigration is a national issue in dire need of resolution, but I'll disagree that illegal immigration is the greatest danger facing this country. It also seems a bit much to deny charity and forgiveness to someone who faces considerable danger to earn less money than you. And it seems a bit futile to attack an incumbent with a one-issue platform, especially when that one issue was not one of voter parlance prior to suggestion. Fear is a powerful motivator, but it can also blind a man. Maybe even blind a man from seeing how unreasonable is his campaign.

But, hey--we gots to protect them borders. I gots to look out for me and mine.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Election day is around the corner

so don't forget to sue your local political organization. I think this guy has a little too much free time.